The contribution of artists in shaping the socio-economic landscape of Mauritius should be duly acknowledged in line with promoting artistic values as well as harnessing new talents in the country. Government through various measures and initiatives is committed in its stride to boost the creative arts industry to a new thrust.
The Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, made this statement yesterday at the Ravenala Attitude Hotel in Balaclava. He was speaking at the first edition of the National Awards ceremony which was organised in the context of the 50th anniversary of independence of Mauritius to reward local artists for their accomplishments.
The Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Prithvirajsing Roopun, several other Ministers and eminent personalities were present at the event. The video clip of the song lame dan lame was also launched on the occasion.
In his address, Prime Minister Jugnauth highlighted that the National Awards ceremony is a premiere in the country, whose aim is to give due recognition to the talents, sacrifices, concerted efforts and courage of artists through their art works. Mauritius as a rainbow nation, he underlined, embraces a diversity of cultures through the celebration of peace, harmony, tolerance and solidarity. This existing plurality is a source of inspiration, continuously driving artists to be more creative in their artistic endeavours, he added. On this score, he referred to the examples of various local artists ranging from singers to writers who have made Mauritius proud both at national and international fronts.
The Prime Minister further outlined that there are several initiatives which have been undertaken to cater to the needs of artists. They comprise: amendment in the Copyright Act to safeguard the interests of artists; creation of the National Arts Fund to financing activities such as music recording, concerts, sales and exhibition of art work; revision of the International Travel Grant Scheme with more flexibility to enable artists participate in international shows; and modification of the film rebate scheme to a maximum of 40 percent in view to endorse local productions and promote Mauritius as a preferred shooting destination, amongst others.
As regards the importance of safeguarding the rich cultural heritage of the country, Prime Minister Jugnauth referred to the inscription of Geet Gawai and Sega Tambour on the UNESCO'S Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2016 and 2017 respectively, adding that there is proposal for submitting the nomination dossier for the inscription of Sega Chagos on UNESCO's List.
The key role of Cultural Centres and Speaking Unions to preserve and promote ancestral and cultural traditions in the country was also highlighted by the Prime Minister. He called upon artists to keep pace with evolution in their different fields so as to advance in their endeavours and continue promoting arts and culture in the country.
For his part, Minister Roopun lauded the remarkable performance of Mauritian artists and encouraged them to progress in their professional engagements. Arts and culture, he said, represent an integral part in the daily life of each and every individual. To this end, he highlighted that the Ministry is providing various facilities to assist the community of artists and make of the arts and culture an important pillar of the Mauritian economy.
National Awards ceremony
The awards, organised by the Ministry of Arts and Culture to reward the originality and creativity of Mauritian artists for their outstanding art works, were classified in six categories. The winners are as follows:
Music: Mr Serge Lebrasse
Theatre: Mr Gaston Valayden
Cinema: Mr Surendra Birjmohun
Dance: Ms Anna Patten
Literature: Mr Abhimanyu Anuth
Visual Arts: Mr Vaco Baissac