WITH MALDIVIAN ARTIST EAGAN BADEEU
June 23, 6 PM
Amidst the pandemic, the artists continue to work and create. For the French Spring Festival, we have decided to virtually knock on the door of Eagan Badeeu, a Maldivian artist that will share artworks presented at his 2019 exhibition "Lionfish and the plastic bag", at the National Art Gallery of Male, Maldives.
Eagan Badeeu is a Maldivian artist based in Male. Eagan’s most significant works include 18 triptychs commissioned by the National Art Gallery which were displayed in 2008 in a solo exhibition “Theyokulain Dhivehi Raajje”. These paintings were based on his childhood memories of life in the Maldives Islands expressed in calm and vivid oil colours. Impressionist landscapes and seascapes depicting the culture and lifestyle of the Maldives are his signature subjects. Noted for their vibrant saturated colour, Eagan’s work captures people as subjects in candid dispositions whilst engaged in their daily life. Details are freely suggested and brushed in, allowing the subjects to blend in with their surroundings.
He earned initial recognition in the year 2000 when his works were exhibited in “Funoas” (the beginning of southwest monsoon) Art exhibition held at Esjehi Gallery in Male’. Since then, he has exhibited his works with various groups as well as solo exhibitions both in Maldives and abroad.
2009: “Theyo Kulain Dhivehi Raaje”, National Art Gallery, Male’, Maldives.
2008: 13th Asian Art Biennale, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
2008: Maldives Contemporary Art Exhibition at National Art Gallery, Male’, Maldives.
2007: Franco Maldives Association Inaugural Art Exhibition, at Gadhoo Building, Male’, Maldives.
2006: 12th Asian Art Biennale, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
2005: Maldives Contemporary Art Exhibition at National Art Gallery, Male’, Maldives.
2000: “Funoas” Art exhibition held at Esjehi Gallery, Male’, Maldives.
The Lionfish and the plastic bag
"I was born in the Maldives and grew up in the capital city, Male’. Through the decades I have seen Male’ change. A beautiful island with white beaches, lagoons and lush green mango trees slowly transformed into a concrete jungle as demand for housing and services increased to meet a population explosion. It urbanized rapidly and became congested with people, machines and buildings.
As a regular snorkeler and swimmer, I saw the beautiful house reef of Male’ die. It was exploited, trashed and reclaimed. The once thriving and abundant coral fringes and marine life disappeared. Our favourite playground, gone forever. The city has been more recently sheet-piled along all its peripheries; it is now a concrete fortress in the sea.
As the city of Male’ suffocates and struggles for space above the sea, beneath the surface, along the tetrapod’s that dot the shattered and almost dead reef slopes, colourful reef fishes are still struggling to survive. Perhaps unwilling to let go of an island their ancestors have loved for ages.
In the exhibition “Lionfish and the Plastic Bag, Plastic Bag and the Lionfish” I am exploring the various forces competing beneath the surface of the sea: the lionfish symbolizing life, survival and positivity, and the plastic bag, an icon of our negative impact on earth and our slow march towards self-destruction.
The islands of Maldives has been one of the world’s most beautiful and pristine marine ecosystems for thousands of years. However, Maldivians, as well as the reef fish and corals which live in this fragile ecosystem are increasingly at risk, because of pollution, climate change and global warming.
The industrial world produces hundreds of billions of plastic bags each year and the rate of production has been on the rise since its invention in the 1960s. The plastic bag has been around for just nearly half a century but its impact on our 4.5 billion year earth is devastating. Threatening the very existence of life, specially the marine life. Each year hundreds of thousands of pounds of plastic waste are discarded into our oceans.
A single plastic bag is used in average for fifteen minutes. Mostly we carry various items from our shopping in a plastic bag and then discard it as waste. A single plastic bag has a life expectancy of up to a 1,000 years. However, a lionfish’s average lifespan is 15 years. Without our help, the lionfish does not stand any chance.
When plastic deteriorates it breaks down into minute plankton size particles that can outnumber any marine organism in the vast ocean. These particles are toxins like DDT and PCBs which are poisonous and a threat to marine life. In a few decades our oceans will be as toxic as some of the world’s most polluted cities. Pollution starts in nature and in our homes. The question is, what are we going to do about it?"
- Eagan Badeeu.