Temporary Exhibitions

The Blue Penny Museum endeavours to organise regular temporary exhibitions in order to renew the interest of its visitors and above all to make an effective contribution to the dissemination of knowledge regarding the history and art of Mauritius.

Admission to these exhibitions is always free for greater accessibility and in order to show to the public all the works of art and objects forming part of the MCB’s collection that are not permanently on display at the museum. Finally, the museum can, whenever possible, host exhibition projects organised by other institutions and bodies.

Chagos!

June-September 2014

Holding an exhibition on Chagossian culture presents a challenge for various reasons. Although it is not strictly speaking an exhibition on the excision of the Chagos Archipelago, this historical fact is the underlying justification for the event.

When a crime has been committed, it is routine to examine the ‘previous criminal history’ of the accused in order to better understand the motives behind the crime. In doing so though, the previous history of the victim is often overlooked by Justice. This does not even occur to the latter as it wrongly sees victims merely as ordinary people. So by his act, only the criminal appears to be worthy of particular interest. Most of the time, even when the victim has been heard, we are left with a bitter aftertaste. There isn’t anything that can be done about it; victims are denied their previous history!

This exhibition resolutely takes an opposite approach. The loss of sovereignty over an indivisible portion of the Mauritian territory is indeed something inherently unacceptable in itself and the issue of territorial affiliation of the archipelago is without doubt a critical one. However, beyond this legitimate struggle, a crime against human beings has also been committed.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner, Elie Wiesel said quite rightly that criminals always strike twice, the first time by perpetrating their crime, and the second time by subsequently removing all traces of the crime.

This was also the case for the Chagossian people. After all of them were deported and carefully scattered in different parts of the Indian Ocean, the occupying forces were quick to deny the existence of an indigenous people. Adding insult to injury, the imperialist forces went so far as to claim that the inhabitants of the archipelago, who were condescendingly renamed ‘Ilois’, were never born there!

This exhibition is a fairly modest gesture and is only intended to present and affirm an original and authentic culture of which the portion of humanity that is within each of us can be particularly proud, regardless of where we come from.

Fernand Mandarin was born, raised and lived for many years in the Chagos Archipelago. His eyes are still filled with a wealth of memories of his early years spent in the archipelago. He helped us realise how important it was to contribute to the rebuilding of a dismantled and exiled people by offering this exhibition to the many Mauritian people and tourists visiting our museum daily. The challenge will never end and there is still a long way to go but as Mauritians we can well understand that if each of us joins in at our own level, wherever we may be, this support can prove critical for the cause.

Journalists, filmmakers, artists, writers, theatre directors, but also museum experts now and choreographers, designers or ordinary citizens tomorrow, each and every one of us has a share of responsibility for condemning this crime and demanding redress, the right of return of the people of the Chagos to their land and respect for territorial integrity.

However, attempting to revive the substantial human and cultural wealth of the Chagos within 200 square metres of exhibition space has proven to be a difficult challenge.

By themselves, a dozen of old maps will be of obvious interest for visitors. Some of them dating from the 17th century are very rare; some others are more recent and allow a better understanding of the geopolitical and strategic significance of the archipelago. Coming across a map of Peros Banhos in Coral Reefs, a major work by Charles Darwin in itself is a stirring discovery, not to say a source of pride. It was an interesting challenge to make models of ships like the Zambezia or Diego, to forge the tools that were used to produce copra or specific local fishing gear! The military settlers had indeed not allowed the people of the Chagos to take along any of these, which now only survive in the memory of the Elders.

There are only sculptures of four women in Mauritius and two of them, Queen Victoria and Indira Gandhi, are not Mauritian. Another one, Virginie, one of the main characters in a novel by Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, is a very Mauritian figure but has probably only ever existed in the mind of the writer and in the collective unconscious of a nation. All in all, Anjalay Coopen is the only Mauritian woman who has had the chance of having a sculpture of her created by an artist. So, having the opportunity of paying tribute today to Lisette Talate and Charlesia Alexis through sculptures presented in this exhibition is a great satisfaction in itself.

Added to this is the fact that visitors will have the chance of trying their hands on musical instruments like the ‘Bobre’, ‘Makalapo’ or ‘Zeze’. We thus hope that the Blue Penny Museum will have contributed, within its means, to raise awareness among a hopefully large number of visitors with regard to a tragedy that often affects them much more than they realise.

However we hope that in the future, the authorities too will better understand the need for such a cultural work. It is one thing to earmark and identify a space but it is another thing to deliver on the promise, which takes a certain amount of will, work and honesty. Although it seems that holding this temporary exhibition in London or New York would have been a much easier task, let’s hope that one day it will earn itself a place in a ‘Chagos Centre’. This is what we most wish for and it is actually within reach.

We hereby would like to extend our warmest thanks to Fernand Mandarin and the Chagossian Social Committee, Jean Marie Chelin, David Constantin, Kadress Soobaroyen and Marclane Antoine, without whom this exhibition would not have been possible. Without knowing it and without really knowing each other, each of them has complemented the other.

Claudio Veeraragoo : 50 years and counting

April 2014

To state that Claudio Veeraragoo has been one of the best ambassadors of Mauritius would be worse than putting it mildly. Same would be equal to betraying him with a totally out-dated stereotype.

Claudio is not a cultural ambassador of Mauritian culture around the world: he embodies Mauritian culture. He ranks with other legends of Mauritian music such as Ti-Frere, Serge Lebrasse, Michel Legris, and everything which makes us really “us”. Malcolm de Chazal, a lentils fricassee, an octopus “vindaye”, the Mauritius Post Office red and blue, the continuously rethought dodo, our way of being united: Claudio encompasses all of that. He, on his own, epitomises our idea of the way we are. Without giving up on any of these facets, he totally assumes what he is with flying colours, without any contradictions.

Through him, the Blue Penny Museum wants to celebrate one of the greatest artists Mauritius has known during the last 50 years. We owe Claudio numerous hits, including Ambalaba, sung numerous times by many French singers, amongst whom Maxime Le Forestier, or Bhai Aboo. Not many people can induce most Mauritians to think of tunes and lyrics over the years. In 2014, Claudio Veeraragoo composed 350 songs, released 8 CDs, 30 cassettes and more than 45 “45 rpm” vinyl discs.

It has to be noted that Claudio is one of the rare Mauritian artists who managed, although with much difficulty, to earn a living from his singing. This is very uncommon, as so many factors hamper local artists to express themselves…

A music lover since his early childhood, Claudio triggers his singing career in 1964. One year later, aged 19, he becomes a singer-songwriter and a music arranger. In 1970, he sets up his own band, the Satanik Group, a name imposed upon him by his fans, and his own sega troop.

In 1971, Claudio becomes the owner of his own recording studio, acquires his own musical independence and the means to help his music peers… For a very long time after Damoo recording studio, Claudio was the only one in Mauritius, with Marclaine Antoine, to help promote an authentic Mauritian music, allowing dozens of songwriters to perform.

He toured so numerous countries and travelled so many kilometres that it would be easier to ask him about the places he never visited. Claudio visited Japan, the entire European continent, Africa, the Maghreb, where he was so loved, Canada, Australia with only one thing in mind: to promote his motherland.

Last but not least, Claudio is also the one who broadened the horizon the Mauritian culture through new words and themes into the sega. Words, images, sounds, costumes, tones were introduced in the sega, even if many kept thinking of Ma Bolé Ma. Before chutney music, the Bhojpuri Boys, Vishnu and others, Claudio gave a new dimension to sega and broadened its reach to the entire country. Through a unique identity, Claudio incarnates the different blends of our cultural diversity, subtly mixed and intertwined. This most probably why he has been so successful; he has managed to talk to everyone of us, whilst identifying himself in each and every Mauritian.

You only have to follow his footsteps during a stroll in Port-Louis to grasp his popularity. This popularity does not, however, compare to delirious groupies or stardom. It is true and undeniable closeness to the people of Mauritius. Claudio is not the ambassador of our culture, although he has been for a long while. Today he is our culture.

Happy birthday Bhai Aboo!

Pagnes and Sarees

November 2013 – February 2014

Mauritius looks back at its past and rightly so. Whilst looking back, the darkest hours, atrocities and negativity of the human being in his most fundamental rights are unveiled. While we look back at the negative side of our history, we should not neglect the best of ourselves. A la Doudou Diène in 1998, who invoked the positive side of slavery, why not ponder on our rich past? This common feature of our “common points” gave us a better insight of ourselves and fostered us to make the most of ourselves…

Even if we lived in self-denial, despite the oppression, many traditions have rooted deeply... and were shared by all. Whatever the activity, each brought its own expertise and shared it to anyone who would accept to adopt same.

Same goes to the way we dress. After post-independence turmoil and the horrid “we want no drape, no shawls”, we have gone a long way. Today, the saree is worn by women, irrespective of their cultural and religious belonging.

Nowadays, nobody would dare challenge the beauty of the saree, its simplicity and practicality. “Pagne” in creole, this lengthy piece of cloth has, throughout the years, earned its nobility in Mauritius. And that, to such extent that it would be impossible to see a man advocate his indifference or his lack of interest publicly.

As years have gone by, this garment has imposed itself as a symbol of simplicity and of “chic”. And that is really an amazing feat, to say the least. During the 80’s, numerous were the women who would go to work wearing a saree, would wear them at home in their daily lives, for a wedding or for another ceremony. The saree is worn easily and willingly in Mauritius and has even become a normal feature of our “living together”. Outside Mauritius, it is however rare to see it worn differently in one place. Be it in the Marathi, Tamil, Bengali or Nivi style, Mauritian women wear it their way, depending on their origins and circumstances. And from that, the way to wear the saree has earned a truly outstanding diversity, which is typical of Mauritius.

First Mauritian Book in French

The book entitled SARIS is among the rare French books on the subject. It is the only one currently available on the market. The book depicts the history of this millenary clothing and shows the many ways it is worn all over the different regions of India. The book endeavours to show the richness of the patterns and their meanings. It also situates this long piece of cloth in past centuries, revealing India in its complex relations with the world and showing the influence of the sari on other cultures. The sari is the one garment with no button, no closure, no pin holding itself on a woman’s body and plays an important role in Indian culture and identity, by its industry and manufacturing. By itself, the sari is an entire sector of the Great Peninsula’s economy. The book is richly illustrated and helps in better appreciating the extreme beauty of this fascinating garment.

Mauritius, 1838: 175 years of history in watercolour sketches

September - October 2013

In September 2013, MCB will celebrate 175 years of existence. Ranked among one of the oldest institutions in Mauritius, MCB is also the biggest private sector employer. Being given such circumstances, it is only legitimate that the Blue Penny Museum hosts an exhibition with works of art from this period.

It appears that a number of these paintings were acquired in recent years. They bear testimony of the long-lasting, deep and profound connection between the Bank and the Mauritian heritage.

With the recent release of a book and CD on Ti-Frer’s life, which comprises of numerous unheard songs before, it was a moral duty, a strong commitment to bring back the testimony of Mauritius’ past to where it belongs. This commitment was shown by the repatriation of 25 of Alexandrer Thom’s watercolour sketches, and L. Burgade’s oil paint on canvas, depicting Port Louis harbour seen from the sea.

It sounds completely correct to invite any visitor of the museum to admire these masterpieces. This is precisely the very essence of what a museum should do: to keep and share our heritage as much as can be. This is what we tried to achieve.

Thom’s amazing watercolour sketches epitomise the knowhow of past generations. In those days, the teaching of art had an important role. Many were those who were willing to get initiated to practise the art of watercolour sketches. Alexander Thom, who was a scientist and a meteorological expert, is the perfect example of the passion for drawings and watercolour sketches.

Léon Burgade, a painter from Bordeaux, makes us remember that, in those years, art and long-distance travelling were closely related. In those days where photography did not even exist, artists’ works were of utmost importance to testify about an entire era. This view of Port Louis harbour, seen from an ocean's perspective, was painted by a Frenchman during the English occupation of Mauritius. The symbolism of that is, in itself, very powerful… A testimony of the close bond with the Mauritian soil. This painting is, somehow, the opposite of that of William Hodges, notoriously famous for being the one who was on board of Cook's expedition. His painting, which dates from the end of the 18th century, is the exact anticipation of the same subject painted half a century earlier. The Blue Penny Museum invites you and the public at large to discover and to admire those masterpieces which are still unknown to the public eye, as from Wednesday 4th September to Saturday 5th October 2013.

We have a dream

June - August 2013

As the curator of the Blue Penny Museum, I am glad to present this cultural event which will be held at the Caudan between June and August. The theme of this event is related to non-violence.

A free exhibition, entitled “We have a dream”, will showcase the life and work of about 20 people who devoted their lives to fight against violence and to promote non-violence. They are: Adb el Kader, Aung San Suu Kyi, Bertrand Russell, Bob Marley, Dalaï Lama, Desmond Tutu, Albert Einstein, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Henry David Thoreau, Lech Walesa, John Lennon, Leon Tolstoi, Lisette Talate, Louis Lecoin, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Muhammad Yunnus, Nelson Mandela, Rabindranath Takhur, Rigoberta Menchu, Rosa Parks, Sven Olof Joachim Palme and Wangari Muta Maathai.

In Mauritius, due to historical reasons, we have to acknowledge the fact that we have the bad habit of classifying people into predefined categories. For such reasons, Mohandas Gandhi is very often be associated with the Indian or Hindu community, whereas Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela are, on the other hand, classified as being close to Creoles. All this happens whilst the gist of the messages transmitted by these famous people are universal and unifying. What they advocated was never aimed at anybody in particular, be it the colonizers or the oppressors.

These “legends” of peace go well beyond their origins and their background. By the potency of their fight, they belong to the entire humanity and have blown into pieces the myth of belonging to a selected few only.

The exhibition in itself aims at being a prelude to an extensive homage to all these celebrities, who have been regrouped for the first time beyond time and geographical barriers. About twenty sculptures, elaborate biographical panels, numerous panels, the mythical “I have a dream” speech, Mohandas Gandhi or Mother Teresa, John Lennon’s songs will also be showcased.

A book, entitled “L’Accorité” – bonding together – witnesses the abundance of our inherent multiculturalism. This testimony is not a fruitless quest of the non-existent, which is also illusive, but aims at becoming a testimony of the “being here”, of the acknowledgement of our differences in our daily lives. To achieve this, it is essential to grasp our specifics in a world which strives for cultural reciprocity, exchanges and sharing beyond boundaries. It is thus essential to contribute to this identity-building process where each of us has a pivotal and crucial role.

Emmanuel Richon

The end of an era, by Olivier Bolton

April- May 2013

Time flies. Only stars seem to remain static in the deep clear sky… Unchanging. I left Mauritius 30 years ago but I always came back to this colourful earth, with an old view camera, frames, lenses and film.

During each of my travels, I could see changes in the island. So I tried to gather lights, moods, atmospheres and faces, which, hopefully, would represent the end of an era to all Mauritians and myself.

India On Canvas

February- March 2013

As far as contemporary Art is concerned, our scope of view has not always changed the old age focus which was systematically geared towards European and American productions.

Economy is not the only sector where geographical locations have changed focal points. Chennai, Calcutta or Mumbai have nothing to blush about when compared to London, Paris or Berlin. Contemporary works of plastic arts are common to Shanghai and New Delhi, as well as to New York. That is the way the world goes.

Contemporary Indian art is particular: albeit modern, it does not ignore a rich cultural history spanning over thousands of years and it even inspires itself from such history. The subtle or direct use of tradition is deliberately used to the extent of stunning a large number of people. Such was the stereotyped view, which reduced India into a fictitious and unchanging mould.

Indian contemporary art epitomizes a country subject to drastic change, is fraught with much audacity and provokes a lot of debate. India is the biggest democracy in the world and had to stand by its reputation of generating a free flow of expressions and creations.

Through a group of Indian artists, we discover a whole new universe. Mauritius is already being under the Bollywood spell and will soon be influenced by other artistic means like the work of new poets and writers, and of the contemporary artists from India.

The Blue Penny Museum brings a glimpse of the richness and diversity of Indian Art to us through the work of about ten artists from India.

"Galloping horses"

June-August 2012

What if two centuries of horseracing in Mauritius were told to you?

Such a compelling and extraordinary voyage through time was yours to behold at the Blue Penny Museum. One could live the Champ-de-Mars greatest races and defining moments during their visit to this superb exhibition, which took place between 28th June and 31st August 2012. This unusual event was staged to commemorate the bicentenary of the Mauritius Turf Club (MTC). The exhibition was entitled “Brides abattues”, which clearly brings to mind a strong imagery of galloping horses on the racecourse.

Apart from being the first horseracing track in the Southern hemisphere and among the first of its kind in the world, horseracing and the Champ-de-Mars have a rich cultural past. Scenes beheld there have imprinted long-lasting memories in the minds of Mauritians, let alone of inhabitants of Port-Louis. Horseracing has always been a hobby for everyone and has generated a lot of passion amidst people. It has always been the cement between multi-faceted components of the Mauritian society, a melting pot of cultures to experience strong emotions during a captivating spectacle. Above all, a day at the races was meant to satisfy an obvious craving for entertainment.

In the wake of this exhibition, a book richly filled with exclusive pictures in 3D, which brings the mind far down memory lane, has been published.

Once a Boy Scout, always a Boy Scout!

December 2012 - January 2013

In the wake of the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts movement in Mauritius, the Blue Penny Museum held an exhibition. This activity was a true insight into this movement which regroups 28 million youngsters in 160 different countries.

Scouting was born in 1912 in Curepipe. Samuel Blunt de Burgh-Edwardes, a young lawyer, decided to launch such an activity in Mauritius. Unfortunately, the success of his initiative was very short-lived following his departure abroad.

De Burgh-Edwardes returned to Mauritius in 1934. As soon as he did, he contacted some of his old friends who were part of the first scouts groups. In less than a year’s span, the First Mauritius was comprised of 70 members. Six months following the setting up of First Mauritius,2nd and 3rd Mauritius followed suit in Vacoas and Quatre-Bornes, under the leadership of Bob Schilling and Margéot. Those three entities, which were functioning separately, eventually merged and gave birth to the Mauritius Boy Scouts Association. The association grew up to 150 members in 1938. Reverend Alan Rodgers and Father Henri Van Kesteren then decided to open new associations which would allow people from other religious beliefs to join in. 

After World War II, different religious groups decided to set up their own Boy Scout groups. However, in 1956, the first gathering between Boy Scouts of Catholic and Church of England faiths occurred. In the same breath, the Scouts community was enlarged to regroup people from different religious beliefs under the same roof. Their main target was to contribute towards to making of a better society while fostering interaction with nature. 

The Mauritius Scouts Association was born in 1971. It regroups all of the existing Boy Scout groups of the country. It strives to make each youngster become the maker of their own progress towards autonomy, solidarity, responsibility and more involvement towards society’s progress.

"Mauritius in Your Hands"

November 2010-January 2011

It was the first time that a Mauritian museum showcased miniature representations of heritage buildings.

The miniaturisation techniques used allowed visitors to visually discover a child-like universe. Miniature representations of over thirty outstanding heritage buildings were on display including the Thien Thane Pagoda, the Mahebourg Museum, the St Louis Cathedral, the Chateau de Monplaisir, the Jummah Mosque, the St James Anglican Cathedral, the St Paul Church, the Port Louis Theatre, the Town Hall of Curepipe, The Chateau du Réduit, Our Lady of the Visitation Church, the Plaza Theatre, the Marday Butler Temple, Royal College Curepipe and the citadel of Fort Adelaide.

The richness and diversity of the structures, origins, materials and aesthetics of these buildings were systematically highlighted.

"Laboutik sinoi" (chinese Comer Shops)

February-March 2011

Focus on the cultural heritage of Mauritius.

This exhibition focused on the place of Chinese corner shops in the cultural heritage of Mauritius. Much more than traditional commercial buildings, they are grocery stores as well as haberdashery shops, hardware stores, drugstores, tobacco shops or mini-post offices.

Chinese shops are scattered across the entire Mauritian territory, even in the remotest corners of the country, and have contributed in its economic development. Through their indescribable and ineffable atmosphere, these small, local shops have transmitted a rich and diverse common heritage to the Mauritian people.

"Cyclones Longtemps" (Cyclones of Yesteryear)

July-September 2011

This exhibition was dedicated to the most severe and most devastating tropical storms our country has ever witnessed.

It would be difficult to forget these destructive natural phenomena: 1892, which killed some 1,200 people and injured many others; 1931, which showed the inhabitants the importance of insurance systems as a preventive measure; 1945, a more devastating cyclone which caused immense damage but was overshadowed by other major issues on the world scene; Carol, which received vast media coverage and brought about the transformation of the country, which embarked on a sustainable reconstruction programme on an unprecedented scale; Hollanda in 1994 or Dina in 2002, which lingered for a long time over the island with gusts of 222 km/h recorded in Port Louis.

Mauritian people have learned over time to deal with cyclones, drawing lessons from each cyclonic event and progressively developing a strong resilience. Nowadays, these hurricanes are an unavoidable part of the common identity of Mauritius.

"The Last Gong for the Dugong"

November 2011-February 2012

This exhibition featured a previously unpublished iconography of various endemic animal species, most of which are now extinct in Mauritius.

It brought the dugong to the fore by presenting two naturalised specimens for the first time in Mauritius. 

The dugong has disappeared from the lagoons of Mauritius and is today considered the most threatened sea mammal. There are less than 60,000 individuals left in the shallow and untamed tropical waters of the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf and Australia. Even if they are now a rare sight, dugongs are still present in the waters of Sainte Marie, in Madagascar: they have light-coloured skin, measure between 2 and 4 metres long and weigh up to 900kg. The dugong is, together with the manatee, the only living species of the order of Sirenia, and must therefore be protected.

It is important to note the remarkable iconographic work undertaken by the Dutch artist, Ria Winters, who presented on the occasion completely new mental representations of the endemic fauna of Mauritius.

"Artists and Mayors"

June-August 2008

This exhibition showcased some twenty portraits of Mayors in office in Port Louis between 1850 and 1920.

Consigned to oblivion, these paintings were given new life through restoration work that began in 2000 and took seven years.

The exhibition had several objectives. First, to reveal a part of the history of Mauritius that was still unknown to the population. Young and old alike had the opportunity to discover the life of the Mayors who contributed to the infrastructure and economic development of the capital of Mauritius for over half a century. Second, the aim of the exhibition was to pay tribute to the talent of the Mauritian painters who created these works.

"Kifer Ti Frer?" (Why Ti Frer?)

May-June 2009

The temporary exhibition named “Kifer Ti Frer?” (Why Ti Frer?) was a vibrant tribute to the origins of the sega music, which is a showcase for our ‘Mauritianness’.

Various aspects of the event put into perspective the value of this culture and visitors were offered the opportunity to get their hands on different kinds of instruments including the ‘bobre’, the ‘zeze’ as well as the ‘makalapo’ and the ‘kordeon’… Through the collections of the Mauritian sega artist, Marclaine Antoine, the museum was able to show these instruments in their original form to the general public. The exhibition also featured a number of 19th century prints, unveiling some facets of the History of the sega. Another important aspect was a section devoted entirely to Ti Frer, offering a faithful representation of the famous, deceased sega artist.

"Striker"

July-August 2009

The Blue Penny Museum proved, for the span of a tournament and an exhibition, how passionate Mauritian people are about the carom board game.

Mauritian people start playing the game at a very tender age and through it they learn the basics of life in society.

The “Striker” exhibition provided an artistic interpretation of the carom game through the works of four plastic artists, Nalini Treebhoobun, Alix Le Juge, Firoz Ghanty and Ismet Ganti. The challenge was to represent the aesthetic, cultural and philosophical dimensions of the game and to offer visitors the opportunity to fully appreciate its beauty. 

For its part, the carom tournament held on 8 August 2009 at the Blue Penny Museum brought together the best players in the country. Ninety-five youngsters were invited to compete in this national tournament which contributed to enhance the status of the game.

"Lemuria, the Lost Continent"

November 2009- January 2010

This exhibition was dedicated to the hypothetical continent of Lemuria, located in the Indian Ocean.

The theory of the existence of Lemuria arose in the 19th century, when scientists sought to explain Darwin’s Theory of Evolution of a common ancestor for similar species.

A British zoologist, Philip Sclater, hypothesised that a land bridge once existed during the Eocene Age from the Malay Archipelago to the south coast of Asia and Madagascar, thus connecting India to southern Africa. Therefore, the Mascarene Islands and Madagascar could be the only remaining vestiges of Lemuria, which disappeared following a planetary cataclysm. Many scholars agreed with this theory but others argued that it was totally ridiculous.

"Blue Note at the Blue Penny"

February-March 2010

A brilliant insight into the well-known music genre.

An exhibition devoted to jazz music and named “Blue Note at the Blue Penny” provided insight into this music genre that originated in the USA and has connections with our Creole island culture.

A vibrant tribute was paid to the most famous 20th century musicians: Duke, Satchmo, Pres, Ella, Bird, Dizzy, each one of them as photogenic as the other in the portraits on display. The photographs of these great musicians, accompanied by record covers of the time, musical scores as well as gleaming musical instruments were presented to visitors.

"Earth from Above"

April-June 2010

In 2010, the MCB Group invited the Mauritian people to visit the “Earth from Above” exhibition, which was held at the Caudan Waterfront.

The open-air exhibition by the famous French photographer, Yann Arthus Bertrand, consisted of 120 large display panels which invited visitors to a journey through the realities of our world. His aerial photographs reflect the variety of natural habitats and expressions of life, but also man’s imprint and assault on his environment. This work constitutes a “status report” on the planet at the dawn of the new millennium. The photographs are inseparable from the descriptive texts and invite each individual to reflect on the planet’s evolution and the future of its inhabitants. The exhibition was highly successful and was visited by thousands of Mauritians.

Mauritius 1810

June-August 2010

Through this exhibition, the Blue Penny Museum recalled an important period in the history of Mauritius: the Battle of Grand Port.

Above all, it provided a fair report of the events that occurred throughout of the whole of 1810, which was a crucial year in the country’s history.>

The exhibition featured various original documents: portrait paintings of Sir R.T. Farquhar, Charles Telfair, Rear Admiral Nesbit Willoughby, Captain Pierre François Etienne Bouvet, Lislet Geoffroy and many other personalities, as well as several military and civilian written documents, coins and uniforms of the time.

Two ship models of vessels of the time and two slideshows re-creating the landing of the British on the island and the capitulation of French forces were presented during the exhibition. A chance for visitors to relive the battle as if they were there!

"Prosper d'Epinay"

November 2001

The first temporary exhibition to be organised by the Blue Penny Museum was dedicated to Prosper d’Epinay, a Mauritian sculptor of the latter half of the 19th century.

He was undoubtedly one of those who produced some of the most accomplished works.

This exhibition allowed the public to get acquainted with major works of d’Epinay, including marble compositions (‘La Ceinture Dorée’ – The Golden Belt, or ‘Cyclone’), portrait sculptures (‘Thoinon’, ‘Madame Legait’), historical pieces (‘Joan of Arc’) as well caricature sculptures and drawings (‘Fra Diavolo’, ‘Le Satyre’ – The Satyr).

"10th Photography Exhibition of Mauritius"

August 2002

This exhibition featured 40 black and white photographs taken by members of the Cercle des Artistes Photographes (Circle of Artist-Photographers) around the theme of “The Mauritian People and their Environment”. 

The museum hosted these works both to foster the recognition of photographers in Mauritius and to promote awareness of the impact of human activity on the environment.

"Malcolm in Blue"

September-November 2002

This exhibition was organised to mark the centenary of the birth of Malcolm de Chazal. Thirty original paintings of the Mauritian artist organised around five themes (animals, landscapes, flowers, portrait paintings and objects) were exhibited at the museum for the occasion.

The event allowed visitors to immerse themselves in the colourful and poetic universe of the Mauritian painter and thinker. Malcolm de Chazal, who was born in 1902 and died in 1981, was one of the greatest and most active Mauritian intellectuals of the 20th century. He liberated painting from the boundaries of realistic representation and traditional pictorial conventions through his seemingly naive, very colourful and highly sensual works which always reflected his love of Nature. 

''Malcolm in Blue'' was above all a rare occasion for the public to see the works of one of the most significant Mauritian artists.

"Malcolm and Us"

December 2002-January 2003

Fifteen works of artists inspired by Chazal’s painting and thinking, each accompanied by one of his original works, were staged during this temporary exhibition. 

Malcolm and Us” was not only a tribute paid by contemporary artists to one of their intellectual and artistic masters but also the renewed commitment of these artists to a certain idea of artistic creation.

"Mauritius...A Land of Destiny"

November 2003

Mauritius… A Land of Destiny” was dedicated to the voyages of discovery of the French and British navigators, Nicolas Baudin and Matthew Flinders, around the Australian continent in the early 19th century. This exhibition formed part of the Encounter Mauritius 2003 project to commemorate the bicentenary of these voyages of discovery.

"The Royal Society of Arts and Science of Mauritius"

October 2004-March 2005

This exhibition was organised to mark the 175th anniversary of the Royal Society of Arts and Science of Mauritius and traced milestones in the History of this learned society since its foundation. It also highlighted the society’s key role in the development of the country since the 19th century.

''Kickin' Up Dust"

November- December 2006

The “Kickin’ up Dust” exhibition, organised in collaboration with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian High Commission in Mauritius, was a real eye-opener.

Some awesome photographs taken at festivals in four regions of the island continent (including Tasmania) enabled visitors to discover certain aspects of contemporary Aboriginal culture. Special emphasis was placed on the efforts to preserve Australian Aboriginal culture and ensure its continuity.

This travelling exhibition visited dozens of countries around the world, stopping off in Mauritius, at the Blue Penny Museum, upon returning to Australia.