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Art & Crafts Association

Uniquely Saint

Creative art is a learning process for the artist and not a description of what is already known.{a}

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Support for local artists and producers of craft materials

Art & Crafts Association

What does it do?

The Art & Crafts Association (commonly but incorrectly referred to as the ‘Arts & Crafts Association’) provides support for local artists and producers of craft products, including providing a shop in Jamestown where both members of the Association and others can sell their work. The Art & Crafts Shop is located in The Cannister in Jamestown, next to the Tourist Information Office - (+290) 22101.

Souvenirs sold in the Art & Crafts Shop are usually under the ‘Uniquely Saint’ banner (logo, below). This guarantees that the item is of high quality, is environmentally aware and has a minimum 50% of St Helena content. For more details ask in the shop.

An example of what is on sale in the Art & Crafts shop{1}:

History

What is now the Art & Crafts Association was formerly the ‘St Helena Handicrafts Association’, which operated from the living room of Wellington House. Originally a Government body, the St Helena Handicrafts Association was made independent in 1981. It was renamed the Art & Crafts Association on 9 October 1999, then operating from a room in Market Street and later in the basement of The Consulate Hotel. Not having a window to display their goods and attract customers was a drawback, but at least artists and crafters had an outlet for their wares.

The Consulate was sold by Solomons to a private investor in 1998 and the Association had to move out. It appealed to the Government of St Helena and were given the room at the back of Broadway House (then the headquarters of the St Helena News; now home of the St Helena National Trust), where they remained until 2012 when the Government of St Helena moved them to their present home in The Cannister.

Read More

Article: 15 portraits on the colonnade

By Emma Weaver, published in The Sentinel 20th February 2020{2}

15 life-sized canvas portraits local people lined the walls of the Ladder Hill colonnade on Sunday afternoon, February 16th. About 200 people turned up to the colonnade Sunday for what was - according to the St Helena Art & Crafts Association - the island’s first outdoor art exhibit.

All 15 oil paintings in the ‘Treasured Saints’ exhibition were the work of Michel Dancoisne-Martineau. Michel, originally from France, has lived on St Helena for 35 years as ‘the keeper of the empty tomb’. But when he isn’t looking after the tomb and the rest of the island’s Napoleonic Heritage, Michel is a painter.

Although Michel has exhibited his art previously on the island, this is the first time he’s exhibited works that depict local people.

I did a few exhibitions, but never of people because that is something I’m more shy to show; because it’s always embarrassing, especially when people know and recognise, or do not recognise, themselves, Michel said.

So how did he choose his portrait subjects?

I wrote my biography three years ago, and during the writing of it came some people or families, Michel said. Then, consciously or not, I was wanting to illustrate or to have a souvenir of those people who are mentioned in my books. That is how I came up with this.

So about two years ago, Michel began painting these life-sized portraits of the local people (and sometimes their family members) featured in his autobiography. Some people, it’s not the direct people I mentioned in my book, it’s their family members; but [they each have] something that I can still see in the look, in the eyes or something, about that person/individual which have some importance in my souvenir of the island.

Those who visited the show Sunday talked positively about how well the community members they all know so well were captured by the art. They enjoyed the details of the painting. Michel said that place where each individual was best captured in each of his works, was in their hands. When Michel was a young man in Paris, he needed money to pay for his studies. He capitalised on the tourism in Paris, by sitting outside the Cathedral and painting portraits.

But, when you are 13 or 14 and you are on the street painting people, the competition is quite hard, Michel said. So then I decided ‘I will do portraits of people by their hands only, because there’s no two hands alike.’ And now my portraits, if you look at them, actually the real individual [is captured] in their hands. I am a hand painter. The face is just to divert your look.

All donations received from Sunday’s exhibit went to the Art & Crafts Association.

LOL

Credits:
{a} Gertrude Stein

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Footnotes:
{1} As at October 2022, but as most items are handmade and therefore unique, when you visit the selection will be different.{2} @@RepDis@@

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