Elizabeth de Marcy Chelin is a Mauritian artist with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in fine art from Montpellier. Her studies taught her introspection and how to ask questions of herself. To her, the concept behind a piece of art is more important than its appearance. Elizabeth’s work takes any number of forms, from sketching, installations and sculpture to textile and embroidery. While in France, she took part in projects for the town of Montpellier and taught at the Nîmes Chamber of Commerce. She also founded a collaborative workshop, joined artists’ collectives and exhibited in various galleries. Having moved back to Mauritius, Elizabeth took part in a number of group exhibitions including a residency with the pARTage group, the first edition of BORDERLINE, the METAFORM exhibition and the Porlwi festival. She had her first solo
exhibition in 2016 at the Imaaya Art Gallery. She is on a constant quest to reinvent herself. Elizabeth researches, collects and assembles various elements in order to create her pieces. Each step of the process – the accumulation and layering of the work – creates a new present. She finds herself drawing from her personal history. “Each piece is presented individually but is part of a whole. What unites them is what runs through but also preserves and gradually cements my islander’s memory. It’s been a matter of assembling the small objects (bedcovers, toys, birthday cards, shells, flowers, buttons, pairs of glasses…) and components (origami fortune tellers made of fabric) that are part of our collective memory. Depicting our culture through a grandmother’s modest legacy, reminding the viewer of part of their life, identifying with things that, during one’s childhood, were a source of fun and games.” How do these individual memories resonate within our collective island memory? “When I collect things, I think back to those old-fashioned rooms full of piled-up objects and second-hand finds, whose presence in the house revealed their importance to my grandmother. Rooms that had become repositories, spaces that sustained her imagination, which felt both familiar and faraway.” This encounter with Objects enabled Elizabeth to piece together her present work. Faced with the vestiges of these very personal memories, don’t the sights, smells and laughter of our own childhood resonate within all of us?


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