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Portrait of Pascal Lagesse smiling with easel in the foreground

I was born in Mauritius on August 7, 1968. Very early on, my parents gave me a taste for Art. They were real triggers of passion. I am a self-taught painter and I learned painting by observing the work of my elders. In 1986 I took up oil painting and over time I became familiar with acrylic paint and watercolour, pastel, ink, charcoal and engraving on copper and zinc plates . I studied graphic design and these studies helped me a lot with composition and later with the creation of the style that I called “Zafer”.


I organised my first solo art exhibition in 1996 at the Max Boullé gallery in Rose-Hill, Mauritius. Encouraged by critics, I offered solo art exhibitions to the Mauritian public in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2014 and 2022 where I organised an exhibition of Zafer paintings at the Caudan Arts Center.


It was in 2003 that I started working on a very colourful style of painting, accompanied by geometric shapes. The use of graphics in the Zafer style stems in part from a simplification of the painter Vincent Van Gogh's touches. The spirals and circular shapes that we find in his painting “Starry Night” and the almost geometric shapes of the painting “Dandelion Meadow” caught my attention and I wondered what a painting would look like in which these touches of paint were simplified. This is how I started creating paintings with circles, spirals, squares, triangles, lines and dotted lines. There is definitely also an influence from Australian First Nations paintings which I have always admired.


In 2018, I published my first book of short stories entitled « Petites histoires qui font sourire, peut-être rire ou qui pourraient vachement plomber l’ambiance », a book with a deliberately kilometric title. In 2020, I published my first novel; John Berik, Cabri c’est fini !


Since 2001, I have been diagnosed with relapsing depression and bipolar two syndrome and placed on medication for life. It is important for me to talk here about these illnesses which affect a large number of our fellow citizens and which we tend to hide or are often ashamed of. Like diabetes, these are diseases that are invisible to the general public, but very real to the family and those around them. The irony for me is that these mental illnesses contributed greatly to the creation of the style of painting that I practice today. The Zafer style giving me immense well-being, it was completely natural for me to persevere on this path. The therapeutic aspect provided by repeating geometric shapes greatly helped stabilise my mental state. I have long felt an emotional passion for Vincent Van Gogh who, in his time, suffered from a form of this same illness, but was unable to benefit from appropriate therapeutic support.


The practice of the Zafer style is for me an endless adventure, because a style of painting is called upon to constantly evolve for the happiness of the one who creates and those who watch.

Photo: Marie Lagesse

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