National Pavilion of Mauritius 56. Venice Biennale 2015

La Biennale de Venezia 2015 – 56th Internartional Art Exhibition


From One Citizen You Gather an Idea



Artists: Tania Antoshina, Djuneid Dulloo, Sultana Haukim, Nirmal Hurry, Alix Le Juge, Olga Jürgenson, Helge Leiberg, Krishna Luchoomun, Bik Van Der Pol, Vitaly Pushnitsky, Römer + Römer, Kavinash Thomoo

Commissioner: pARTage. 

Curators: Alfredo Cramerotti, Olga Jürgenson 

Project Advisers: Alessio Antoniolli, Maria Arusoo, Pamela Auchincloss for Arts Management and Cultural Agency ELEVEN +, Giorgia Mis for ArtICE / Arts production, Dr Dimitri Ozerkov, Georg Schöllhammer, Joanna Sokołowska, Dr Olesya Turkina, Dr Gabriella Uhl

Venue: Palazzo Flangini, Cannaregio 252, Campo S. Geremia – 30121 Venezia  06.05. – 22.11.2015 Orario / hours 10-18 Opening: 05.05.2015 at 5 p.m.




For further information: Olga Jürgenson: ojurgenson[at] / Alfredo Cramerotti:  agm[at]



March 31, 2015


PAVILION OF MAURITIUS AT THE 56th VENICE BIENNALE at the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia (first officialparticipation)


Title of the Exhibition: From One Citizen You Gather an Idea

Participants: Sultana Haukim, Nirmal Hurry, Alix Le Juge, Olga Jürgenson, Helge Leiberg, Krishna Luchoomun, Neermala Luckeenarain, Bik Van Der Pol, Vitaly Pushnitsky, Römer + Römer, Kavinash Thomoo, Tania Antoshina, Djuneid Dulloo

Commissioner: pARTage

Curators: Alfredo Cramerotti and Olga Jürgenson


The first national Pavilion of the Republic of Mauritius at the Venice Art Biennial, 9th May – 22nd November 2015, is based on a dialogue between Mauritian and European artists. Mauritius is a fusion of cultures, languages and ethnicities, with its population made of Indian, African, Chinese and European descendants; the co-presence of temples, churches and mosques in every town of this island nation reveals this diversity.

Virtually uninhabited until the end of the 16th century, the island was then ruled by the Dutch, French and British, before gaining independence in 1968. The newly born state has managed to maintain close ties with their former rulers, and also to establish an economic relationship with the USSR. Since 2000 the Ibrahim Index of African Governance has consistently rated Mauritius as the best-governed African nation in terms of safety, economic development and human rights.

However in art and culture, different sets of assessments apply; there is a short distance to questioning the value and relevance of the contemporary art output of a region in relation to the global artworld. The Pavilion is not only a slice of the Mauritian artistic and cultural scene, but also a reading of Western conventions when it comes to assessing the ‘art now’ and the canons and critical approaches to the issues of the day.

The Pavilion’s underlying belief is that art has meaning when challenging its own structures and relationships. Thus the participating artists from Europe, based in established art centers such as the UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Russia, each presents a work in response to the work by artists from, or based inMauritius, a remote island in the Indian Ocean. The artists are invited to challenge each other’s aesthetic and ideological canons, initiating a discussion about art theory and practice, colonial heritage and postcolonial relations, education and politicization of culture.

With this indirect approach to the idea of inclusiveness and difference, carried out by the work of fourteen prominent artists in their respective countries, the Pavilion of Mauritius aims to ‘take the temperature’ of the global art world, and possibly provide – besides a lot of questions – some answers.

When asked about their interest in curating the national Pavilion of Mauritius, Cramerotti and Jürgenson said that: “The project was born out of our dialogue, the ‘urge’ to talk about difference in cultural and even aesthetic canons, why these differences are there and how we approach them. It’s quite easy to ‘dismiss’ a certain approach as naive, immature or wanting to play hardball with geopolitical issues, without really understanding what’s going on in that region and why certain tendencies have developed and are there. Being that manifestation either a political and activist approach or a more transcendental and spiritual one – incidentally, both very present in the Mauritian artistic scene.

Commissioning body and responsible for the Pavilion of Mauritius:pARTage Association of Contemporary Artists on behalf of the Mauritius National Gallery and the Ministry of Culture
Project advisers: Alessio Antoniolli, Maria Arusoo, Pamela Auchincloss for Arts Management and Cultural Agency ELEVEN +, Giorgia Mis for ArtICE / Arts production, Dimitri Ozerkov, Georg Schöllhammer, Joanna Sokołowska, Olesya Turkina, Gabriella Uhl
Supporters: Mondriaan Fund, Prince Claus Fund, Galerie Vallois. With thanks to Fariba Derakhshani, Cédric Rabeyrolles Destailleur, Jean-Luc Maslin, Julie Penfold, Veronika Poptsova, John Prime, Aleksandra Smirnova, Robert Vallois, Nicola Wright, Eduard Piel, L’Orizzonte agenzia di pubblicità

Artists’ biographies:

Alix Le Juge, born in South Africa in 1967, lives and works on the island of Mauritius and has exhibited there since the early 1990s. Some of her solo exhibitions include Conservatoire Botanique de Mascarin, Réunion Island (1997), Curepipe, Mauritius (2004), and most recently at Galerie Imaaya, Mauritius (2011 and 2012). She also exhibited in a number of group shows like Salon de Mai, Mauritius, Triennal of Contemporary Art, Mauritius (2002), Art Ireland Exhibition, Dublin (2004), Sakha Ubuntu, South Africa (2006). Alix works as a designer in advertising firms and regularly does illustrations for Opera Mauritius.


Bik Van Der Pol are based in the Netherlands and work collectively since 1995. Their recent works and projects include: Sounds for Silence, Ternitz, Austria; 31stBiennale Sao Paulo; Moderation(s), Witte de With, Centre for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; The Missing Stories, CAFAM Biennial 2014, CAFA Art museum, Beijing; Museum of Arte Util, Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven; The Crime Was Almost Perfect, Witte de With, Centre for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2014) Biennale of Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil; Call of the Mall, Utrecht (2013), Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Sudbury, Canada (2012), Accumulate, Collect, Show, Frieze Projects, London; Living As Form, Creative Time, New York (2011).


Kavinash Thomoo is an artist born in Mauritius in 1983. He received his formal undergraduate degree in Fine Art in 2007 from the University of Mauritius. In 2013 the Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University, awarded him a scholarship for his MA Fine Art. His curiosity about human psychology and socio-political issues has greatly influenced the majority of his works. He is among the few pioneer Mauritian artists who have experimented with digital art. Kavinash participated in over 50 art exhibitions nationally and internationally.


Krishna Luchoomun, born in 1962 on the island of Mauritius, completed his MFA in 1990 from the ex-USSR Academy of Fine Arts and started teaching art in secondary schools in Mauritius. In 2002 he joined the Mahatma Gandhi Institute as lecturer in Fine Arts. He has participated in a series of exhibitions and residencies around the world. In his works he investigates the relationship between humans and their immediate environment expressed through a variety of media including video, installations, photography, performance and painting. In 2003, Krishna initiated pARTage, an artist’s-led art organization working for the promotion of contemporary art in Mauritius.


Nirmal Hurry, born in Mauritius in 1961, received his MA in Fine Arts from the Jamia Millia Islamia University New Delhi as well as Diplome Superieur d’ Art Plastique from Ecole Nationale Superieur des Beaux Arts, Paris. His awards include the Prix de la ville de Saint-Cloud (France) and Prix de la S.LB.A. (France). He took part in international shows such as SADC Art Exhibition in Namibia, Biennale of Cairo (2001), Biennale of Dhaka Bangladesh (2001), World Sculpture Park of Changchun (China), Triennial of Contemporary Art, Mauritius (2002). He is a jury member in the Mauritius National Handicraft Centre and National Art Gallery, and an organizing committee member of the Triennial of Contemporary Art.


Olga Jürgenson has enjoyed an interesting journey from a Fine Art education focused onSocialist Realism at The Academy of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Russia, to currently working as a contemporary multi-disciplinary artist and curator living in the UK. See more below under ‘curators’.


Römer + Römer (Torsten and Nina Römer, Germany) are a German-Russian artist couple living and working in Berlin. They employ photography, digital art, mixed media techniques, painting, performances and exhibitions curating. Their works incorporate historical and political references, the pictorial idea “hand painted” into “analogue images” with a pixel-structure.  They have exhibited worldwide including Kunsthalle Rostock, Kunstverein Heidelberg, Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, the EMERGENCY BIENNALE Chechnya / World Tour, Grozny, Gwangju Museum of Art, Liverpool Biennial, UGM Maribor Art Gallery, Künstlerhaus Wien, Vienna, HMKV Hartware MedienKunstVerein, Dortmund.


Sultana Haukim was born in 1974 in the city of Quatre-Bornes in Mauritius, is a contemporary multi-disciplinary artist working on issues concerning nature and women. Sultana studied at the Mauritius Institute of Education and completed her BA Fine Arts at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute. She had her first solo exhibitions in 2005 at ‘L’alliance Francaise’ of Mauritius. Her international group exhibitions include East African Biennale in Tanzania, Theertha in Sri Lanka, Africa Artist’s Network in Kenya, 4th International Biennale of Beijing in China, AIFACS in India, Saint Malo in France and Greatmores Studio in South Africa. Sultana is member of Arterial Network-Africa and works as an art teacher in a secondary state school in Mauritius as well as being visiting lecturer in Fine Art at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute.


Tania Antoshina was born in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, and got her PhD in Fine Arts from Industrial Academy, Moscow. Her works are in major collections including the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, National Center for Contemporary Art (NCCA), Moscow, MUMOK, Wien, Neues Museum Weserburg, Bremen, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC, and Corcoran Art Museum, Washington DC. She has been awarded the Olympic Art gold medal and “Five Rings Prize”, Beijing (2008), and won prizes in the video festival Magmart, Naples (2006) and “Silver camera”, Museum House of Photography, Moscow (2002 and 2003)


Vitaly Pushnitsky based in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, is internationally recognized as a painter, sculptor, and graphic artist. Vitaly participated in major group exhibitions in Europe, USA and Russia, such as the Venice Biennale 2007 (Collateral Events), Baltic Biennale, Moscow Biennale, and had numerous solo shows in museums and galleries in Russia and abroad. In 2012 the Moscow Museum of Modern Art hosted a large retrospective of Vitaly showcasing nearly 1000 works. He was three times nominated for Kandinsky Prize in Russia (2008-2012) and received a Special Prize from the French Government at the Kurekhin Festival in 2012. His works are in a number of important collections such as the State Russian Museum, St Petersburg, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, and Red Bull Contemporary Art collection.

Curators’ biographies:

Alfredo Cramerotti is a curator and writer working across TV, radio, publishing, arts festivals and exhibition making. He directs MOSTYN, Wales’ leading contemporary art institute, co-directs the curatorial agencies AGM Culture and CPS Chamber of Public Secrets, and is Head Curator of APT Artist Pension Trust. He has curated exhibitions worldwide, amongst others those in biennials such as Sequences VII in Reykjavik (Iceland) in 2015, the Maldives Pavilion and the Wales Pavilion at the 55th Venice Art Biennial (Italy) in 2013, and Manifesta 8, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, Region of Murcia (Spain) in 2010. He is author of texts on art theory and curatorial practice published by museums, institutions and art publications, and Editor of the Critical Photography book series by Intellect. His own publications include the book Aesthetic Journalism: How to inform without informing (2009). Alfredo is Visiting Lecturer in several European universities i.e. Goldsmiths (University of London), Oslo National Academy of the Arts, HEAD University of Art & Design Geneva, Icelandic Art Academy, Università Cattolica MIlano and DAI Dutch Arts Institute.


Olga Jürgenson has participated throughout her artistic career in significant group exhibitions globally, including MANIFESTA 10 and the Liverpool, Moscow and Ural biennials. She undertook several international residencies and fellowships including Artists House Lucas (Ahrenshoop, Germany), IDAT (University of Plymouth, UK), Peterborough Digital Arts (UK), pARTage (Mauritius). Her most recent solo exhibitions were at the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia (2013) and New Hall Art Collection, University of Cambridge, UK (2014). Olga was awarded grants, scholarships and awards from European foundations including KulturKontakt (Austria), European Cultural Foundation (the Netherlands), Arts Council England (UK) and was nominated for the Kandinsky Prize in Moscow in 2011. Her works are in state and private collections across the world, including the State Russian Museum, St Petersburg, Russia, National Centre for Contemporary Art Moscow, Russia, Oulu Art Museum, Finland, and the University of Cambridge. She has organized exhibitions and screenings of videoworks by British artists in several countries and was invited to judge various art competitions.

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