The Mauritius International Art Fair 2019 - Lessening the borders between local and international artists

Written on 07/12/2019
Panda & Wolf Advertising Agency

‘Fostering Unity, Celebrating differences’ is the theme of the very first edition of the MIAF. Founded by Dubai-based artivist & ZeeArts Head Zaahirah Muthy, the MIAF is a multi-disciplinary contemporary art fair designed to present original artworks of local, regional and international artists in Mauritius. The grande Art Manifestation is set to take place from August 8 to 11 at the Caudan Arts Centre.

The MIAF’s ultimate goal is to position Mauritius as an internationally renowned art hub as well as educate locals to further empower the young generation about the value of art. Immersed in art since childhood, Art Historian Zia Gopee who is also part of the MIAF organisation team says there is a lack of interest for art in Mauritius and yet the island has great potential.

‘The diversity that there is in Mauritius is what makes the beauty of our culture and which makes our art even more beautiful and original’, he added. This is the reason why the MIAF has set itself as an annual rendez-vous for artists from all over the globe.

Art as a means of cultural exchange

Credits: Majo Portilla from Netherland

The MIAF will primarily gather artists from neighbouring islands such as Reunion, Madagascar and Seychelles but also from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia with the objective of connecting Mauritian artists to the global art network. ‘For this 2019 edition of the MIAF, we are expecting around 80-100 artists, both local and international, known and less known artists. Each artist will present a up to two artworks which will be of high quality but still with a fair price’, says Zia Gopee.

Art is synonymous with dialogue, exchange and gathering, the latter adds. This will be a platform for artists to engage in an artistic dialogue and cultural exchange and simultaneously present their artwork.

Zia Gopee: From an expert point of view !

Passionate about art, the Mauritian Art Historian entrusts us that he met Zaahirah Muthy through the social media platform, LinkedIn. ‘ We discovered that we both have the same interest for art and share the same passion. We want to create something concrete and realistic for Mauritius and to promote the Mauritian art ‘ . Within the MIAF and ZeeArts, he brings not only his expertise but also his knowledge and experience.

He is in charge of all the writing, the panel discussions and everything about creating a bond with the artists. ‘ My dearest wish is to implement the History of Art in Mauritius, to show the art richness and the capacity of our little island ‘. He further adds that the message behind the MIAF event is to convey peace and serenity and celebrating our diversity.

The Little Picasso Workshop - a CSR project putting children in the spotlight ​

Credits: Michel Marant from France

A CSR initiative set up by ZeeArts with the objective of reaching 100 children living in the deprived regions of Port-Louis. This project consist of giving the children a professional assistance and guide them so that they can create their own artwork. ‘This year we will be organising the 7th edition of the Little Picasso Workshop and we will be mainly focusing on the deprived regions of Port-Louis, and next year we will choose another region.

The aim of this workshop is to teach the young generation to express themselves through arts and teach them the richness of the mauritian arts so that they pass on this knowledge later’, said Zia Gopee. After this, the chosen artwork will be exhibited during the MIAF event and will then exposed at the Sofitel Imperial Resort & Spa. All the funds raised from this event will go for NGOs of Mauritius to help the children.

MIAF to host an Artist Empowerment Program (AEP)

As part of helping the artists to augment their professional competency, a workshop will be organised by the art writer and journalist from Singapore, Ryan Mario. The latter will teach artists the fine art of compiling their portfolios, of writing their biographical profiles, of photographing their artwork and how to price them, and ways of negotiating a contract. More workshops are planned such as a workshop with Watercolour artist from India, Bijay, the Hatha Yoga & Art by Karen-Marie Axworthy from UK accompanied by some live painting performances.

With all of these events and initiatives aligned for the promotion of Art in Mauritius, the MIAF definitely promises to become an Art and Cultural landmark for the island.

Read More about the MIAF here.