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Arts gallery to open in Kenwyn House, an 1855 colonial-style building being renovated by Gran Kaz

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Renovation works are being carried out on the Kenwyn House built in 1855 funded by Gran Kaz. (Salifa Karapetyan)

Seychelles’ small capital will soon be welcoming a new art gallery as an old historical landmark undergoes renovation work to host the new venture.

Expected to open in July this year, the art gallery will be located on the ground floor of Kenwyn House, a national monument situated on Francis Rachel Street in Victoria.

Renovation works being carried out on the colonial style house built in 1855 is being funded by Gran Kaz, an entertainment center. The latter is leasing the building from Cable and Wireless — the proprietor — for an undisclosed amount of time.

Kenwyn House is exemplary of the French colonial style of the time when it was built, which for Seychellois has become synonymous with the traditional Creole architecture.

The public relations and communications manager of Gran Kaz, Shama Amesbury, told SNA that though Gran Kaz is covering most of the renovation cost, the company welcome other companies’ help and contributions. Restoration works, which started early in March, are being carried out by Laxmanbhai, a local construction company.

“Since the previous owners left about two years ago, the building started to fall into a state of disrepair, and for us, it’s sad as this is a piece of historical architecture. For us it is about bringing it back to its former glory,” said Amesbury.

The previous tenant was Jouel, a Tanzanite jewellery shop.

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The art gallery will be located on the ground floor of Kenwyn House. (Salifa Magnan, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

The secretary of the National Monuments Board, Julienne Barra, said the board is happy that Gran Kaz is restoring Kenwyn House.

“I think it is a major accomplishment for the heritage of Seychelles as it means that private companies have our national monument and cultural architecture at heart,” said Barra.

She added that having a gallery in the building will bring life to the house turned into a national monument in 1984.

The gallery will host different forms of artwork. Since Gran Kaz is looking to keep Kenwyn House as a non-commercial venture, visitors wanting to buy artworks will be put into contact with the artist.

A few of Gran Kaz offices will be located in the basement of Kenwyn House while the first floor will hopefully be an extension to the main gallery.

Having a public gallery means that people can come inside for free to view the art that is inside. They can take pictures inside as well as pictures of the building which has always been the case with visitors,” said Amesbury.

The manager said that their investors are very passionate about the Seychellois culture and its traditions.

“The main reason why we decided to do this was to try and hold on to a little piece of it for as long as possible. It is also about giving back to the community,” said Amesbury.

Gran Kaz is located next door to Kenwyn House, in Mercury House — another colonial style building of over 100 years — which was also renovated by the entertainment company. Gran Kaz hopes that other businesses will contribute to the preservation of this monument.

Source : Seychelles News Agency

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