Best of the Maldives: Underwater Sculpture Gallery – Sirru Fen Fushi

Sirru Fen Fushi - sculpture 1

International Sculpture Day today. And new resort Sirru Fen Fushi is launching a world class sculpture exhibit with the most distinctively Maldivian twist – it is underwater.

  • “The sculptural installation on Sirru Fen Fushi will offer visitors a unique, cultural eco-art attraction whilst creating the foundations of an artificial reef to enhance the underwater ecosystem. The centre piece will be the Coral Cube, the worlds first semi submerged art space, a portal to the underwater realm offering visitors ephemeral encounters with the natural beauty beneath the water’s surface, delivering an other worldly experience that illustrates the connectivity of man with nature, a hybrid organic form in harmony with its surroundings, a seamless link between the land and the ocean, combining two disparate wonders, one created by man and one designed by nature.”

This creative installation is another gratifying “Finally Seen” for me as I first suggested such an exhibition 4 years ago with Part 4 of my “Not Seen Yet” series (#7).

Sirru Fen Fushi - sculpture 3

Sirru Fen Fushi - sculpture 2

Best of the Maldives: Art Studio – Finolhu

Finolhu - art studio

For a heartfelt gift, you can make your own. Especially at one of the many Christmas workshops that are traditional this time of year. My church’s annual workshop was where I learned half my craft skills (straw stars, clove oranges, yuletide wreaths).  A number of resorts offer various artistic studios (pottery, painting, glass making), but Finolhu have one of the most comprehensive that I have seen with a wide variety of media.  The also have a festive Christmas workshop schedule (including ceramics) for all those budding Santa’s elves who prefer the sunny tropics to the frozen Arctic.

Best of the Maldives: Artists Collective – Kandima

Kandima - artists 1

Today’s post is also sort of a “Finally Seen”. I’ve been telling resorts for years that they should commission Aima Musko to do art pieces for their villa.  She is one of the finest artistic talents in the Maldives and I can proudly say that I was Aimee’s very first customer to buy one of her paintings. Well, finally, Aimee – and a number of other fellow Maldivian artists – are being assembled by a resort, Kandima for their KULA ‘programme’ (they refer to it as an ‘exhibition’, but it is really more like a resident festival):

  • “KULA means ‘Colours’ in Dhivehi and it is our vision that this programme will support the full spectrum of the contemporary creative arts, from local crafts, fashion, digital photography, videography to music, and open up new horizons for the local art community like never before. The entire resort will be a glorious art gallery and thanks to collaboration with MAC (Maldives Artists Community, a local art NGO with over 100 members), Kandima Maldives is set to host regular exhibitions and exciting performances by local artists. There will be live art demonstrations and guests can unleash their inner Picasso with classes at Kandima’s very own Art Studio. Set on the edge of a natural lake, it will be one of the most peaceful locations on the island, giving both guests and artists the inspiration and calm space they need to create their masterpiece!”

Colour me delighted.

Kandima - artists 2

Beaux-Arts on the Beach

Maldive artistic leap

While the fashionista army invading the Maldives usually relies on the naturally endowed beauty of the landscape and the DNA lottery for their photoshoots, some paradisarrazi put do lend an artistic hand to their posts.  Below is a top ten collection of demiurgic depictions…

  1. Blondy (Maafushi)
    Blondy (Maafushi)
  2. Rita Dahdah Fawaz (Lebanon) – JA Manafaru
    Rita Dahdah Fawaz (Lebanon) - JA Manafaru
  3. Alexey
    Alexey
  4. Esther Heesch (Germany) – Amilla Fushi
    Esther Heesch (Germany) - Amilla Fushi
  5. Tatiana (Russia) – Hulhumale
    Tatiana (Russia) - Hulhumale
  6. Catherine (Taiwan) – Adaaran Hudhuranfushi
    Catherine (Taiwan) - Adaaran Hudhuran fushi
  7. Courtney Eaton (Australia)
    Courtney Eaton (Australia)
  8. Uliana Ptash (Russia)
    Uliana Ptash (Russia)
  9. Chayada Ladmai (Thailand) – Veligandu
    Chayada Ladmai (Thailand) - Veligandu
  10. Victoria Halenarova (Czech) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
    Victoria Halenarova (Czech) – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
  11. Alyssa Ramos (USA) – Shangri-La Vilingili
    Alyssa Ramos (USA) - Shangri-La Vilingili

Maldives Motifs

Maldives blue surgeonfish tapestry

The Maldives is an aquatic tapestry of every colour blue you could imagine punctuated by bits of shining sunshine gold and lush vibrant greens.  The most stunning beauties in the Maldives are the vistas from above, below or even right on the water.  These artistic Instagrammers have produced their own portfolio of aesthetic masterpieces which all share this mosaic quality of colourful patterns.  Including the first one above captured by yours truly, here are my top ten utopian tableaux…

  1. Blue Brigade by Maldives Complete [ABOVE]
  2. Fusiller Platoon by Meeru
    Maldives yellow back fusillier tapestry
  3. Reefer Radness by Felix Bonnert
    Maldives reef tapestry
  4. Convict Tangs by Warren Baverstock
    Maldives convict tangs tapestry
  5. Blue Lagoon by Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Maldives water tapestry
  6. Sprat School by Sidey The Shark
    Maldives fish tapestry
  7. Male Cityscape by A Life of Saturdays
    Maldives Male tapestry
  8. Coral Condos by Ender Çiçek
    Maldives coral fish tapestry
  9. Moreish Moorish by Joshua Strydom
    Maldives Moorish idol tapestry
  10. Paradise Parfait Palette by Lavender Ribbon
    Maldives lagoon tapestry

Best of the Maldives: Graffiti Art – W Retreat

W Retreat - grafitti art 1

From the other extreme of rustic simplicity, W Retreat is featuring a number of vibrant graffiti pieces painted by the Maldivian artist Sobah from @TOXI_CREW. He was also learning from Alec Monopoly who came to W Maldives to paint the walls of the “W The Store”.   He was joined by Japanese graffiti artist Shiro to give the 15BELOW underground club a facelift (see bottom).  W is always pioneering bringing a current, modern vibe to this ancient paradise for a distinctive mash up of new and natural.

W Retreat - grafitti art 2

W Retreat - grafitti art 3

W Retreat - graffiti

Best of the Maldives: Maldivian Scenes – Hideaway Beach / Conrad Rangali

Hideaway Beach - Maldives art 1

Portraits of the Maldives using a more conventional medium are the latest highlight at Hideaway Beach. The décor in their newly launched Deluxe Sunset Beach Villa features commission by Eagan Badeeu

“Eagan Badeeu is a prominent local artist and Maldivian national treasure, his works mainly focus on abstract or impressionist seascapes and landscapes”

They have an impressionistic feel with a rich texture, colour and light. His work can also be found at Conrad Rangali.

Hideaway Beach - Maldives art 2

Hideaway Beach - Maldives art 3

Best of the Maldives: Photographic Gallery – Huvafenfushi

Huvafenfushi - gallery 1

A sense-ational week this week – Smell, Taste, Touch. So how about something for the eyes. If you want something as entrancing as a cabernet’s bouquet, as exquisite as artful nectar, and as soothing as a warm bath, the Huvafenfushi’s newly launched art gallery offers an indulgence of visual delights. The exhibition features both iconic shots of the Maldives, but also a collection of dazzling destination portraits from around the world…

“Per Aquum gallery on the Maldivian island of Huaven Fushi has become the first photography gallery in the world to only be accessible by speedboat or seaplane. Each visitor to the exclusive gallery is greeted at one of the private jettys with a cocktail and are then guided through exclusive prints, only available on the island. Photographer Paul Reiffer had been shooting for the island owners when he saw an opportunity to create a unique exhibition. The 35 year-old said: ‘We’ve done it in part because it’s quirky. If you look at it from a commercial view it’s a stupid idea but we wanted to do something a bit different and it completely works.”

This post has prompted me to add a “Photography” tag for all posts literally focused on the fine art of the camera.

Huvafenfushi - galler 2

Best of the Maldives: Cool Character-ature – Huvafenfushi

 

It seems like every possible moment of a holiday is captured by the ubiquitous digi-gadgets snapping every possible permutation of sunset, seascape and romantic pose. For a more stylish and creative worth-a-thousand-words memento, Huvafenfushi has introduced celebrity portraiture. Feature last week in the Sunday Times, they describe…

“The award-winning artist Jasmin Khexri – whose cool fictional character Irma doles out fashion and beauty advice in Vogue, Tatler and Marie Claire – will be in residence at the resort in October. Kherzi will draw portraits in her distinctive style which giving sitters creative tips on how to bring a bit of Irma’s World into their lives. A session costs £360.”

 

Huvafenfushi - Irma style

Best of the Maldives: Mixed Media Bed Decoration – Jumeirah Dhevanafushi

Jumeirah Dhevanafushi bed decoration

 

 

I’m a big fan of bed decorating. The classic motif is the arrange flower petals. Some resort incorporate palm fronds. And Club Med Kani even has towel folding. But Jumeirah Dhevanahfushi blends all three into a stunning bed collage. Compliments of Andy and Linnet who actually were the couple that introduced Lori and I to the Maldives years ago making their first return to the Maldives in over a decade.