“Chèz an nou Bèl”, the great meeting of art creators

On Saturday, December 2nd, will be held in Basse-Terre the 11th edition of the Salon des Créateurs de l’Art “Chèz an nou Bèl” (Art Creators Fair “Our Chairs are Beautiful”), organized by the association Jipé F’Awt. This year, this great meeting of art and crafts will have as theme “Ouvrez les Fontières de l’Art” (Open the Frontiers of Art) and the activities will run on the esplanade of the Port of Basse-Terre instead of Allée Tamariniers. The originality of this event is that it takes place outdoors and the works are exhibited on chairs.

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This year, “Chèz an nou Bèl” will have as honorary patrons Françoise Marianne (plastic art and live performance advisor at the Department of Cultural Affairs in retirement) and Émile Antile (a biguine and jazz musician). Late-comers still have a few days (until December 1st) to register with the organizers. All artistic fields and techniques are accepted. The number of chairs is limited to 4 per exhibitor ; the number of works is limited to 4 per chair and the paintings must not exceed 1m x 1m.

For the last ten years, this event has made its mark in the cultural, economic and tourist landscape of Basse-Terre, without making a lot of noise. Today, its ever-growing reputation has extended beyond the borders of the capital of Guadeloupe. Now, the Fair attracts creators from all backgrounds, art collectors and novices who want to discover the artistic world.

When it was created in 2007, the Jipé F’Awt association set four major objectives : to make the Guadeloupean population aware of artistic creativity ; to help young people to develop artistically and thus push them towards autonomy and openness ; to offer full clarity to plastic art, crafts, music, poetry, dance ; to allow tourists to discover West Indian art in all its forms.

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Chairs as easels

It must also be said that the creator of this project, the plastic artist who is very well-known for his great involvement in the cultural life of the region – Jipé Fronton – had to explain his very original new concept which was to make artists and craftsmen exhibit their works on chairs instead of easels and tables or any other display… “In 2006, the GANFA (Groupement Artistique Nantes Façade Atlantique) in Nantes asked me to do 2 paintings at the same time and light had to be identical on both works. So, instead of using easels, I put the canvas on two chairs to work. Then, I designed the “Chèz an nou Bèl Fair” where I asked artists to show their work on chairs. Each exhibitor must come with four chairs, the chairs are identical from one exhibitor to another, but this is part of the originality of the Fair (…) At the first edition, an elderly lady who had loved this idea had exclaimed in creole : “Mi bèl biten! An kay mèt foto a gason an mwen asi on chèz osi!” (What a beautiful thing! I am going to put my son’s photo on a chair). I registered this concept at the INPI”, told Jipé Fronton.

Today, the organizers think they have achieved the objectives they had set by sucessfully federating all audiences and all trends around art.

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An art fair with an exceptional cachet

They are based on the 10th edition that took place on April 30, 2016 with the theme “La Gwadloup ka vwayajé adan on soup a kongo* awtistik” (Guadeloupe is travelling in an artistic Congo soup) to make a general assessment of the event. Note the active participation in the Fair of associations dealing especially with people with reduced mobility, last year. “This event with an exceptional cachet was a great success. Being a must-attend event in South Basse-Terre, this edition once again drawn the admiration of the public which came in great numbers (…) Many craftsmen exhibited their artwork, allowing to the public to enjoy, to discover, to travel through their achievements (…) For the public, it was a way to learn in the family art history, a different approach to art that is very friendly with music entertainment”, they found. According to them, more than 4,500 people attended the event. As regards the “Village of Creativity”, the association counted more than a hundred children and parents and decided to “perpetuate and amplify” the various workshops (painting on calabash, pottery etc.) during the next editions. For its part, the “Village of Traditional Games” attracted many young people wanting to discover the toys of their parents and grandparents as the “kabwa” or the spinning top. The audience enjoyed dance and singing performances and an African fashion show.

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A very attractive art program

This year, in order not to close the streets around the city hall, the activities of the Fair will take place on the esplanade of the Port of Basse-Terre instead of Allée Tamariniers.

This year again, the Jipé F’Awt association prepared a busy program to satisfy the public. On Saturday, December 2nd, the Salon des Créateurs “Chèz an nou Bèl” will open at 10:00 am and will close at 11:00 pm. 70 artists and artisans are expected ; the very popular “Village of Creativity” will be again offered to discover painting, pottery, graffiti and woodcarving, among others ; a video game contest and a demonstration of modelling (drift) will also be available for children and adults ; at 2:00 pm, a jury will visit incognito the stands to choose the three best exhibitors for the way they welcome the visitors-customers, the quality and the beauty of the works and their presentation on the chairs ; at 3:00 pm, various artistic activities will begin, such as theatre, storytelling, poetry, mime, dance, juggling, magic, etc. ; from 6:00 pm, will begin the awarding of medals and diplomas, the fashion show and a performance with Cuban musicians…

“This 11th edition whose theme will be “Ouvrez les Frontières de l’Art” (Open the Frontiers of Art) because we want to open up to other horizons, I see it very rewarding, creative and innovative”, said Jipé Fronton.

*Soup a kongo/Congo Soup: Culinary recipe