- Farzeen Heesambee
Yours mauritiusly: local artist Mohamad Faizal Dilloo
Mohamad Faizal Dilloo is a contemporary Mauritian artist and painter who captures the rare scenes of hiscountry into paintings. He tries to keep the past alive for the future Mauritian generations by bringing to life the old Mauritius and the Mauritius on the brink of extinction. Professionally, he is also an Art Educator at the Islamic Cultural College Belle Rose since 1993. Holder of a Teacher’s Diploma, BA (honours) and Post Graduate all in Visual Arts, he pursued his tertiary education at different universities in Mauritius.
FH: Tell us about your style and inspiration.
MFD: I am mostly a watercolourist though I can express myself in other media such as oil, acrylics, printmaking and sculpture. My inspiration comes from old Mauritius. Since I had been myself someone who was living in what we call a ‘lakaz creole’, I cannot turn a blind eye to the existing structures which transcend times. I am doing my part to keep alive, through my artworks, the architectural heritage of my country. I am glad to see a change in the appellation of the ministry into Ministry of Arts and Cultural Heritage.
FH: What does painting symbolise for you?
MFD: Painting remains a loophole for me to move away from the stressful daily occupations. It serves as a form of therapy and fills up the emotional gaps and thus creates a balance in my life. When your performances are appreciated, it releases indescribable feelings. I still remember that lady who had tears in her eyes the moment I was delivering to her three paintings on flowers she had commissioned. She could not express her thanks and her joy to me. The cherry on the cake is when your efforts (artworks) find a room for themselves (sold) through art lovers.
FH: Your art is not only about your feelings but the feelings you evoke in others. Artists are however not given their due as contributors and promoters of Arts and culture in Mauritius.
MFD: Everything is not rosy as such. In Mauritius, people are not very fond of paintings. The limited number of its population may be a serious cause to that. Artists are actually not given due consideration. This can be proven by the number of local visitors visiting galleries. Art materials are quite expensive due to high taxes imposed. A lack of recurrent artistic festivals such as plein air painting to bring art to the people is clearly evident. The media give minimum and flashy coverages of art exhibitions in the far end of the news bulletin. My dream would be that one day I and others are invited to make a live demonstration to entertain people on the National Television through an art programme.
FH: It would be a good idea indeed to showcase the work of local artists on television. My own experience of Art in school was limited to international artists, I did not even learn about Malcolm De Chazal until I became an adult.
MFD: The art curriculum has just undergone some changes to level it with other countries. Personally, I find it bulky and demanding with so many projects. So much time in art is spent at the expense of other subjects. At the upper secondary levels’ creativity is sacrificed as curriculum is exam-oriented.
FH: The whole purpose of art, is it not creativity? Unfortunately, this is the case for heavily colonised curriculums. Tell us about your favourite Mauritian artist.
MFD: My favourite Mauritian artist is veteran Yves David. Though he is an oil painter, he shows a high degree of humility. It is this humbleness that has attracted me towards him and of course his paintings. He does only plein air paintings. Under his umbrella every Monday morning, he continues to roam around the island to capture the unseen. In other words, he lives his art. I have learned oil painting from him. We often go out together for memorable painting adventures. Mr Yves David always make it a point to attend any vernissage he is invited to, regardless of the social status of the exhibiting artist.
FH: I am sure you Mr. Yves David appreciates your admiration. As I always think about how to diversify our economy, an economy that heavily relies on the tourism industry. Where do you think Art falls in this category?
MFD: Since Mauritius is an island with people from different origins, consequently it is rich culturally and artistically. The Mauritian culture is derived from a blending of all imported cultures. Tourists do show genuine interest in Mauritian art and cultures. Art galleries run mostly upon their interests in our arts. To substantiate this, I would take the current situation prevailing in Mauritius with the Corona Virus 19. Nearly all art galleries have temporarily closed down due to lack of tourists who are not allowed in. Tourists do make the difference.
Some incentives are required from the authorities to promote local arts, especially fine arts. More opportunities and exposure would definitely help. Facility such as free galleries from the government would pave the way to anonymous artists to come out and showcase their creations. Money matters.
Mauritius can easily become a cluster of cultural venues such as performance spaces, theatres and galleries with other attractions like food courts. Street art should be encouraged.
FH: I wish you all the best for the future and hope we can see more of an interest in showcasing local talents like yourselves who endeavours in promoting Mauritius by capturing its authentic beauty. Hopefully, the Minister of Arts can invest more in our local artists.
Artist: Mohamad Faizal Dilloo at work
You can find his Art work on his facebook page: Faizal Dilloo Arts. please do support our local artist.
PS: This is not a paid promotion, the aim of Mauritiusly Yours is to promote and support Mauritians talent.