Azure, indigo, cobalt: Sea of Seychellois blue showcased in paintings by Praslin-based artist

An ocean of blue will greet visitors to the Art Space Gallery in the Eden Plaza located on Eden Island as a Praslin-based artist exposes her work in an exhibition organised by the Arterial Network Seychelles.

Sheila Markham is exhibiting 36 semi-abstract paintings with blue as a prominent colour. All were painted in the past three years. Inspiration for most of her work comes from her home at Baie Ste Anne, Praslin.

Over the past 30-odd years, I have been painting more or less the same place over and over again but in different ways as time passes, said Sheila Markham.

Most of the paintings showcase a semi-abstract style which conjures a sense of place rather than a figurative depiction. Looking closely at several of the paintings, one can make out common features of the tropical island of Seychelles — banana and palm leaves, white beaches, boulders and lianas.

The exhibition which opened on May 20 is open Monday to Friday from 10.30 a.m. to 18.30 p.m. and all paintings are on sale with prices ranging from $550 to $1,765. The exhibition will close on June 28.

The sister of the artist, Ann Markham, who was present on the opening night, said that she is proud of her sister Sheila’s achievements.

This exhibition is completely different – her style has grown and it has changed somewhat. All the paintings are amazing but before the exhibition, I hadn’t seen a lot of them, as she had stacked them up in a room after painting them, said Ann Markham.

Another audience at the opening, Sophie Perolari, said that she loved the exhibition and it is one of the best I have seen organised by arterial network.”

The network aims at supporting and developing art in Seychelles and organises exhibitions on a regular basis.

I found it all really beautiful with the colours being all so soothing and they really soften my heart, said Perolari.

Educated in Tanzania and England, the artist graduated with a BA Honors in Fine Art in 1967 where she was tutored by two well-known late British abstract artists — Howard Hodgkin and Gillian Ayres.

In 1968, Sheila Markham made her first trip to Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, before following a career in graphics in Africa. She returned to Seychelles in 1987 and has been painting constantly as well as devoting seven years to working as a teacher at the primary level on Praslin.

During the days I was teaching art, a child would think that it was a wonderful demonstration of talent to produce a rather clumsy little imitation of some character out of a comic book. Kids were not confident enough to observe and draw from nature as they have never seen any art besides those in comics, said Sheila Markham.

The artist who has been living in Seychelles for more than 30 years said that if the basic art education of a child is good, he or she should be able to recognise quality art and good design.

Source: Seychelles News Agency