The National Arts and Cultural Fund was launched at State House on Saturday to allow interested persons both in Seychelles and abroad to help in the protection and promotion of the Seychellois culture and heritage.
Philanthropists and prospective partners were present to make a contribution to the fund.
The money collected, of which the total has not been revealed yet, will help to create a national collection of Seychellois artworks and buy properties and artefacts of national cultural and heritage importance.
The secretary general of the Seychelles National Institute for Culture, Heritage and the Arts (SNICHA), David Andre, told reporters that since “culture belongs to everyone, therefore those who are able to do so should contribute to the fund, as this is our heritage, and we should all lend a hand to promote it.”
The fund will fall under the aegis of the Ministry of Finance as government entities are not allowed to have accounts in commercial banks.
In his address, President Wavel Ramkalawan explained the reason for holding the launch at State House.
A consultative committee at SNICHA will then decide on the priority of the various projects presented to the fund.
“This is when we will decide if we want to send money for example to the marine museum,” said Andre who explained that it would be a consultative effort.
Andre said that the fund is also expected to “support events, programmes and activities for the transfer of intangible cultural heritage that will benefit communities.”
The launching of the fund coincided with the 110th anniversary of the State House, a historical monument built in 1910, previously the Governor’s House during the British colonial era.
The building, which boasts a garden full of colourful flowers and shrubs, including the endemic coco de mer palms, and a pen with Aldabra giant tortoises – is also a cultural heritage site of Seychelles.
It includes a cemetery with the tombs and graves of some notable historical figures in the history of Seychelles.
The most prominent grave is that of Chevalier Jean-Baptiste Queau de Quincy, who was the French Commandant and Civil Agent of Seychelles from 1793 to 1811 when Britain took possession of the islands.
In his address, President Wavel Ramkalawan explained the reason for holding the launch at State House: “the building belongs to all Seychellois and is where culture should be encouraged.”
To entice the prospective contributors to the fund, various artists were present on State House grounds painting, crocheting and making vacoa bags.
The Vacoa tree, also known as the screw pine, bears fruits that look like pine cones with leaves spread out in a fan shape, that are used to make bags and ropes among others.
In addition to artefact being created on site, there were also paintings on display for those willing to buy art pieces.