Seychelles’ artisans and traders participate in craft fair in India

A sending-off ceremony was held on Monday and included a short performance at the National Theatre at Mont Fleuri. (Seychelles Nation)

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A delegation from Seychelles comprising of artisans, young performers and traders is participating in the 37th Surajkund International Crafts Mela in India.

The Surajkund Mela is a large crafts fair showcasing India’s diverse handicrafts, and features regional and international crafts, handlooms, and customs, as well as cuisine and music from across the world.

It attracts over a million tourists from India and throughout the world and the fair also allows the participating countries to network through sharing of ideas and exploring prospective possibilities in terms of exchange and exportation of their products.

The trip is an initiative of the Indian High Commission in Seychelles and the National Arts and Crafts Council (NACC) and has been a staple in the cultural exchange between the two countries for a few years.

The 19-strong delegation left Seychelles on Wednesday for the annual event that is taking place between February 2 and 18. 

A sending-off ceremony was held on Monday and included a short performance at the National Theatre at Mont Fleuri.

The head of the delegation, Benoit Julius, told the press that “this year they have decided to take a group of youths from the SNYC, as a change from last year when we took a group of professional performers.”

In preparation for the trip, the artisans have prepared “specific items that will fit into their luggage without exceeding the required cargo regulations,” he added.

These include wooden objects and those made out of coconut.

This is the first time that traders are part of the delegation and Julius said, “We have taken those who may be interested in trading with India in either artisanal products or others.”

The performers will be showing off their talents in local dances – including the sega and the Moutya, the latter was added to UNESCO’s list of intangible heritage on December 15, 2021.

“We will have a diversity of performances aimed at showcasing Seychelles very well. The traders are the only ones not bringing anything with them to India; since their group is special and they are instead looking at all the potential available to them,” he added.

One of the performers in the delegation, Liam D’Unienville, who is also a member of the Seychelles Youth Assembly, said that he was honoured and excited to represent his country at this year’s Mela. 

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