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  • Writer's picturePascal Lagesse

The Zafer paintings mentioned in Japan



Someone would have predicted it to me and I would never have believed it. I had the pleasure of seeing my photo in Japanese newspapers as part of an article on sleeping. Japanese journalist Taisuke Kikuchi accompanied by photographer Tomoaki Nakano, both working for Kyodo News, interviewed me at my studio in Curepipe on February 7. This article is not about my painting, but about the representation of the dodo in my painting. Maybe one day I would be lucky enough to have an article in the foreign press just about Zafer's style. We never know !


Until then, here is a translation of the paragraph that concerns me:


A peaceful world

 

"My world is peaceful." Pascal Lagesse (55) talks to his canvas as he adjusts the hues of paint on his palette. Pink, yellow, purple... A dodo stands in a landscape full of vivid colors.


His studio is in Curepipe, a town located in the center of the island. Various paintings of dodos are lined up on the walls. His works depict the good old Mauritius before humans arrived.


Brilliant colors and extremely simplified brushstrokes. A local newspaper described Lagesse's style as " a great nostalgia." The reporter who wrote the article praised him as "the painter who is one of the most noteworthy in the latest Mauritius."


It all started with a mental setback. In the early 2000s, when he was working both as a landscape painter and an advertising designer, “I was diagnosed with chronic depression.” The real world turns into dull and "I could no longer express realism as I did before."


Memories from his childhood consoled him from his pain. At some weekends, he used to stroll to the beach and forests with his parents and older brothers. Everything was colorful and happy. "Let's get away from reality and paint the island of my childhood in my heart." He established his current style in 2003, and before he knew it, his subjects were going back to the time of the dodo. He tries to have a dialogue with "memories of the island" that goes beyond his personal history.


His works have been attracted by media attention in the past three or four years. The COVID-19 pandemic, the wars in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip etc… Lagesse feels the influence of the gloomy world. "The longing for a grace past that I put into my works must have struck a chord with people living in today's anxious times."


More and more people are visiting his studio from Europe and elsewhere for his works, and he says, "Right now I'm surrounded by the joy of painting." He showed a big smile as if he was still a young boy with an apron having a lot of colourful stains.

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