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Léon Wilma Loïs Radegonde

leon Born in 1950. Lives and works in Victoria, Seychelles.

Léon was born in the Republique of Seychelles, on the island of La Digue, where he spent his childhood. He went on to study on the island of Mahé at the Seychelles College, after receiving a scholarship for secondary school.

His interest in art came when he was 17 years old. Since art was not on the school curriculum, he nurtured his curiosity through books, while practicing drawing and painting on his own. He sought advice and received encouragement from various people on the island. At 19 years old, he successfully completed his A-Level as well as O-Level studies in art.

1leonIn the years following, he traveled to Quebec, Canada to complete a degree in French, while taking evening classes in art. At 25, he went to the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK to train as a French teacher. The university also accepted his request to train as an art teacher, even though he had no advance art training.

At 26, for four years, he taught at the Teacher Training College. Following this period he received a scholarship to do formal art studies at the University of Hante, Bretagne, France for 2 years. Afterwards he returned to Teacher Training College as both a French and art teacher, where he remained for 12 years.

He returned to the Seychelles to work at the Cultural Ministry for 18 years, with his last post being the director of the Kreol Institute. All the time during his tenure, he practiced and exhibited his art, researching and experimenting with media and techniques.

In 1988, as chairman of the Association of Seychellois artists, he helped create the Biennale of Seychelles, dormant since 1996.

Since 2003, he has devoted his full attention to his art, as an “artiste-plasticien”. His works uses unconventional methods derived from found objects, material and images. Although the subject matter is deeply rooted in his identity and experience as a Seychellois, he looks to transcend national borders.

2leon “I have recourse to the trivial, be it in terms of image, material or object, whether found or recreated, to create my own visual vocabulary and imagery. I also look to various forms of cultural sources, be they traditional, ancient or modern, for inspiration.”

“Historical and unconventional art references provide further guidelines and guidance. The work I would like to propose for the Venice Biennale will be an attempt to synthesize those various influences and sources, and to further document notions of time, age, and identity that are central to my work;”

Selected Exhibitions

2015       56th Venice Biennale, Seychelles Pavilion, Venice, Italy

2011       “One World”, solo exhibition, Munich, Germany

2009       “Modernity in African Art Today”, Pan African exhibition, Algiers, Algeria

2008       “Shades of black”, solo exhibition, Victoria, Seychelles

2008       “Artist in Residence” exhibition, Bag Factory, Johannesburg, South Africa

3leon2006       “Salanm sorti ladig”, solo exhibition, Afronova Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

“Travay trouve”, solo exhibition, Victoria, Seychelles

2005       Carrefour des créateurs, Saint Denis, Réunion Island

2004       “Ré-union”, solo exhibition, Alliance Française, Victoria, Seychelles

2003       “San Tit”, solo exhibition, Alliance Française, Victoria, Seychelles

1996       “Desen Portre”, solo exhibition, National Art Gallery, Victoria, Seychelles

1994       4th Biennale of Seychelles, Victoria, Seychelles

1992       3rd Biennale of Seychelles, Victoria, Seychelles

1991       “Creole Impressions”, Plantation Club, Seychelles

7th Triennale of India, New Delhi, India

1990       2nd Biennale of Seychelles, Victoria, Seychelles

1988       “Drawings and Collages”, solo exhibition, Carnegie, Victoria, Seychelles

1st Biennale of Seychelles, Victoria, Seychelles

Exposition régionale, Musée Léon-Dierx, Saint Denis, Réunion Island

4leon1986       2nd Biennale of Havana, Wifredo Lam Centre, Cuba

Seychelles Week in Greece, Athens, Greece

“The Seychelles and its Painters”, Altana Gallery, Hamburg, Germany

1978       Group show, Grand Palais, Paris France


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