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Sketches of Seychelles: New book ‘Island Souls’ shows decades of drawings

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‘Island Souls’ – a new book of sketches of the Seychellois people by artist Michael Adams. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency)

Beautiful pencil sketches of the Seychellois people dating back decades have been published in a new book by artist Michael Adams.

Island Souls of the Seychelles,’ launched last week, costs $115 and depicts portraits of Seychellois, which Adams has been drawing since he first arrived in the islands with his wife Heather in 1972.

Speaking to SNA on Monday, Adams said the drawings were his private investigations from which he derived information. The idea to have them published in a book came from producer Marc Inch.

“These are working drawings not really for public consumption but I am very happy it’s been made into a book form because otherwise very few people would see them,” says Adam.

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The new book was launched last Wednesday at la Plaine St Andre, Au Cap. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

Adams says he chose the title of the book ‘Island Souls’ because Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, is like a haven.

“It’s a place where people drift from different parts of the world onto these islands like a shipwreck and these islands save them from drowning. We are very lucky because we have been saved from the rest of the world and we are creating our little world of multiracial harmony,” Adam told SNA.

Born in Malaysia in 1937, Adams is a professional artist specialising in colourfast watercolours and silkscreen prints of people, land and seascapes. He has held exhibitions in many counties and 2001 he was awarded the Member of British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth for his services to art in Seychelles.

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Malaysian-born Michael Adams who has been living in Seychelles since 1972. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

Over the years, Adams has created a wide range of drawings. His wife Heather says, “He did those drawings just because he wanted to draw those people. He either liked the look of their faces or he particularly wanted it for use in a painting.”

Heather told SNA how the idea for the book was conceived when producer Marc Inch saw all the sketches everywhere. Inch told Heather: “‘How come nobody sees these pictures? These are wonderful.’ And Michael said he didn’t know but that’s how it is, he has just kept them all.”

Inch, owner of Bluebird Investment, said in return: “I would love for everyone to see those wonderful drawings, so I’m going to produce a book,” Heather recounted, and he did, adding another title to his already 200-plus publications.

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Anne Lane features on the cover of the book. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

Designed by Iranian graphics designer Golnar Roshan, ‘Island Souls’ has 232 pages of unique sketches and each accompanied by comments by Adams on the subject and character traits.

The comments appear in Adam’s distinctive handwriting after a short biography of the painter’s colourful life.

Still living in the same wooden house they stayed in when they first arrived on these tropical shores, Adams and his artistic family find most of their inspirations in the jungle of their property’s homegrown botanical garden.

Adam, not often seen exhibiting his works on the local scene, is constantly painting, together with his children Alyssa and Tristan, who were both born in Seychelles.

The Adams works are permanently displayed at their home gallery at Anse Aux Poules Bleues, in the southern district of Baie Lazare, a gallery that has grown over the years and has undoubtedly gone down in Seychelles’ history as the first art gallery to be opened in the country.

Visitors to the Adams Gallery can enjoy a vast array of original watercolours, silk-screens, postcards, line blocks and calendars as well as a book of available silk-screens. A selection of these silk-screens is viewable at the online gallery.

Source : Seychelles News Agency

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