Raising awareness for the protection of our seas
by Waleed Thug
Artist Colette Bernon and photographer Sarah Albert collaborated to create the exhibition titled Art Anti-Plastik which was held during December 2019 at the Caudan Arts Centre in Mauritius, with the aim of showing the hidden part of the iceberg which is the pollution of our seas.
Colette Bernon is a Mauritian-born artist with a strong sense of consciousness for the environment. She relates to us during her interview the origins of this strong ambition to raise awareness amongst the art passionates and the population in general. Being a mother, empathy is one of her strengths which diffuses into her art. Colette says that the main driving force in creating this exhibition was a single recurring question: In what type of world will her children be living in? We have to credit her with the fact that this question is a crucial one and at the focal point of research in the fields of environmental sciences and conservation. Furthermore, art can be defined as one which moves its audience, one which forces us to question the different aspects of life and humankind. Colette manages to capture the essence of environmental preservation and art through her paintings.
A Fish or a Bee?
100cm × 120cm
Pastel and acrylic on canvas
La Danseuse Etoile (Prima Ballerina)
100cm × 120cm
Acrylic on canvas
Colette’s style as an artist is very much based on layering and in this Art Anti-Plastik, derives inspiration from the photographs of Sarah Albert. In the case of La Danseuse Etoile, she interpreted the work of Sarah by producing several layers which allow for a rich textured work, evocative of the seafloor and coral reefs. La Danseuse Etoile is an accurate representation of her artistic identity, both in terms of technique and concept. In this work, the audience is guided to acknowledging the astonishing biodiversity of the Mauritian marine life which is rapidly decreasing due to pollution and global warming.
Promoting Discussions Among the Youths
Art Anti-Plastik is more than an art exhibition; Colette has been marketing this project in various parts of Mauritius and has set up workshops for children throughout the event which was aimed at bringing out the harsh impact of plastics (even bio-degradable plastics) on the flora and fauna. She believes that today’s younger generations will be able to make a change if they are able to acknowledge the adverse effects of plastic use.
The bottom line is, Art Anti-Plastik is an amazing attempt at promoting eco-friendliness while giving us a rich variety of canvases enjoyable to the public and art passionates; a concept which we believe should be emphasised on in the rising art scene of Mauritius.