For such a small country, Seychelles has a vibrant art scene that encompasses painters, sculptors, writers and poets, artisans of many types, musicians and dancers.
Painters have traditionally taken inspiration from the richness of Seychelles’ natural beauty to produce a wide range of works using mediums ranging from water-colours to oils, acrylics, collages, metals, aluminium, wood, fabrics, gouache, varnishes, recycled materials, pastels, charcoal, embossing, etching, and giclee prints. Local sculptors produce fine works in wood, stone, bronze and cartonnage.
Local writers and poets have also used the magnificent backdrop of Seychelles as the inspiration for historical accounts, fascinating works documenting the social history of the islands and its people and collections of short stories and poems that evoke the passions of island living.
Throughout Seychelles, there are many artisans producing works of art that are as varied and diverse as their surrounds. These include stained glass, products made from coconut shell, husk, seashells and corals, clothing, gold, silver and other forms of jewellery, recycled materials, fibres, bamboo, metal and pottery.
Music and dance have always played a prominent role in Seychelles culture and in all types of local festivities. Rooted in African, Malagasy and European cultures, music is played to the accompaniment of drums such as the ‘tanbour’ and ‘tam-tam’ and simple string instruments. The violin and guitar are relatively recent foreign imports which play a prominent role in today’s music.
The lively ‘sega’ dance with its elegant hip-swaying and shuffling of the feet is still popular as is the traditional ‘moutya’, a mysterious, erotic dance dating back to the days of slavery when it was often used as an outlet for strong emotions and as a way of expressing discontent.
‘Kanmtole’ is a foreign dance import, accompanied by banjos, accordion, violin and triangle and reminiscent of a Scottish reel while the Contredance with its intricate movements has its origins in the French court and is danced to the strains of banjo, triangle and to the instructions of the ‘Komandan’ or Commander who calls the sets.
Several groups of traditional dancers perform at local functions as do modern groups playing jazz, reggae, country & western, hip-hop, ballads and classic rock. Several choirs exist singing traditional hymns and promoting choral music with a repertoire that includes sacred, secular, gospel and folk pieces.