Examining Mauritius African Art

Examining Mauritius African Art

April 30, 2023


Mauritius is a small island nation located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. With its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and warm tropical climate, Mauritius is a popular tourist destination for those seeking a paradise-like escape. But beyond its picturesque scenery, Mauritius has a rich cultural heritage and a fascinating history that makes it a unique and intriguing destination.

Mauritius was originally uninhabited until Arab sailors visited the island in the 10th century. The island was later colonized by the Dutch in the 17th century, who named it after Prince Maurice of Nassau. The Dutch were followed by the French, who established a colony on the island in the 18th century. The British then took control of the island in the 19th century and made it a major center for the production of sugar cane.

Mauritius is a melting pot of cultures, with influences from Africa, India, Europe, and China. The island's official language is English, but most Mauritians also speak French and Creole, a language that blends French, African, and Indian elements. The island's cuisine is also a reflection of its diverse cultural heritage, with dishes such as curries, samosas, and biryanis influenced by Indian cuisine, and rougailles, a tomato-based stew, influenced by French cuisine.

One of the top attractions in Mauritius is its beaches, which are known for their white sands and turquoise waters. The most popular beaches are found on the island's north and west coasts, such as Grand Baie, Pereybere, and Flic en Flac. But beyond the beaches, Mauritius has many other attractions, such as Black River Gorges National Park, a nature reserve that covers 2% of the island's surface and is home to endemic species of plants and animals, Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius, which offers a glimpse into the island's history and culture with its colonial buildings and bustling market, Trou aux Cerfs, a dormant volcano with a crater that offers panoramic views of the island, and Chamarel, a village known for its colored earth, a geological phenomenon where the soil is composed of different colors.

The Arts of Mauritius

African art is an important part of Mauritius' cultural heritage, as the island has a significant population of people of African descent. The country's history is closely tied to the African slave trade, which brought people from the continent to the island to work on sugarcane plantations. These African slaves brought with them their cultural traditions and artistic practices, which have been preserved and passed down through the generations.

One of the most prominent forms of African art in Mauritius is sculpture. Wooden sculptures are a popular form of art on the island, and are often carved from the wood of the ebony tree. Ebony is a dense, dark wood that is native to the island, and is highly prized for its beauty and durability. Many of the wooden sculptures in Mauritius depict people, animals, or objects from daily life, and are highly detailed and realistic.

These sculptures often depict people, animals, and objects from daily life, and are highly detailed and realistic. One famous example of wooden sculpture in Mauritius is the "Lézard" statue, located in Port Louis. This statue depicts a lizard crawling up a tree trunk, and is a popular tourist attraction.

This statue is a remarkable piece of art, depicting a lizard climbing up a tree trunk. The sculpture is highly detailed and realistic, with intricate carvings that capture the textures and patterns of the lizard's skin and the bark of the tree. The statue has become an iconic landmark in Port Louis, and is a popular tourist attraction.

In addition to the "Lézard" statue, there are many other examples of wooden sculpture in Mauritius that depict people, animals, and objects from daily life. For example, there are many carvings of fishermen, farmers, and other workers, as well as carvings of animals such as birds, monkeys, and elephants. These sculptures are often used to decorate public spaces such as parks and gardens, or as decorative pieces in hotels and other tourist establishments.

Wooden sculpture is also an important art form in many traditional Mauritian cultures. For example, in the village of Chamarel, there is a community of woodcarvers who specialize in creating traditional African masks and sculptures. These carvings are often used in religious and ceremonial contexts, and are highly valued for their spiritual significance.

Another popular form of African art in Mauritius is mask-making. Masks are an important part of African culture, and are often used in religious and ceremonial contexts. In Mauritius, masks are often made from natural materials such as leaves, bark, and animal hides. They are often decorated with intricate designs and symbols that have deep cultural and spiritual meanings.

One example is the "Touloulou" mask, which is used in traditional sega dances. The mask is made from natural materials such as leaves and bark, and is decorated with intricate designs and symbols that have deep cultural and spiritual meanings. The Touloulou mask is said to represent a female spirit that possesses dancers during the sega dance.

Textiles are also an important form of African art in Mauritius. The island has a long tradition of weaving and embroidery, and many of the textile designs are inspired by African motifs and patterns. One popular form of textile art in Mauritius is the sarong, a traditional garment worn by women that is often decorated with intricate designs and bright colors.

One famous example of Mauritian textile art is the "Cavalier" embroidery, which is a traditional style of needlework that originated in the 18th century. The embroidery features intricate designs of flowers, birds, and other animals, and is typically done in bright, vibrant colors.

Music is another important aspect of African culture in Mauritius. The island has a rich musical heritage that is influenced by African rhythms and melodies. The sega is a popular form of music on the island that originated with African slaves. The music is characterized by its fast-paced beat and lively dance moves, and is often performed at festivals and celebrations.

Dance is also an important aspect of African culture in Mauritius. The island has a diverse range of dance styles that are influenced by African, Indian, and European traditions. The sega dance is one of the most popular dance styles on the island, and is often accompanied by the sega music.

The sega dance is one of the most popular, and is often accompanied by the sega music. Other dance styles in Mauritius include the "Biguine", which is a dance that originated in the French Caribbean, and the "Bhojpuri", which is a dance influenced by Indian culture.

In addition to these traditional forms of African art, Mauritius also has a thriving contemporary art scene. Many young artists are experimenting with new forms of expression, and are incorporating elements of traditional African art into their work. This has resulted in a dynamic and exciting art scene that is constantly evolving.

Painting is another important form of art in Mauritius, with a rich history that dates back several centuries. Like other forms of Mauritian art, painting is a reflection of the island's diverse cultural heritage and the many influences that have shaped its artistic traditions over time.

One of the most notable aspects of Mauritian painting is its vibrant use of color. Many Mauritian painters draw inspiration from the island's natural beauty, using bold colors and vivid imagery to capture the lush landscapes, tropical flora, and stunning seascapes that make up the island's environment. Some of the most popular themes in Mauritian painting include beaches, mountains, waterfalls, and other natural features, as well as local people and their daily lives.

In addition to landscapes and portraits, Mauritian painters also draw inspiration from the island's rich cultural history, creating works that explore the island's colonial past, its traditions and beliefs, and its diverse ethnic and cultural heritage. For example, many paintings depict the vibrant colors and intricate patterns of traditional Mauritian clothing, as well as the island's unique architecture, including colonial mansions and Creole-style homes.

One of the most well-known Mauritian painters is Malcolm de Chazal, who was born in 1902 and is considered one of the most important figures in the island's art history. De Chazal was known for his vibrant use of color, and his works often depicted local people and landscapes in a whimsical and dreamlike style. His paintings have been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, and continue to be celebrated as an important part of Mauritian art and culture.

Other notable Mauritian painters include Vaco Baissac, whose works often depicted local people and their daily lives, as well as Paul Bouvier, who was known for his impressionistic style and use of color. More recently, contemporary Mauritian painters such as Naguib Abdallah and Burthen Arouff have gained recognition for their innovative and experimental approaches to painting, which incorporate a wide range of media and techniques.


In conclusion, African art in Mauritius is a reflection of the island's rich cultural heritage, with a diverse range of artistic traditions that draw inspiration from the island's natural beauty, colonial past, and vibrant cultural diversity. From wooden sculptures to vibrant paintings, Mauritian artists have created a wide range of works that showcase the island's creativity and craftsmanship.

If you're a fan of African art, including landscapes and waterscapes, you may be interested in exploring our website, We have a range of beautiful African paintings available for sale, featuring vibrant colors and intricate details that capture the essence of the African landscape. Whether you're looking for a unique piece of art to display in your home or office, or are simply interested in learning more about the rich artistic traditions of Africa, we invite you to explore our collection of paintings and discover the beauty and diversity of African art.

Size Guide

Centimeters (CM)

Inches (IN)

50CM x 40CM

19 11/16 in X 15 3/4 in

50CM x 50CM

19 11/16 in X 19 11/16 in

60CM x 60CM

23 5/8 in X 23 5/8 in

70CM x 50CM

27 9/16 in X 19 11/16 in

80CM x 60CM

31 1/2 in X 23 5/8 in

100CM x 80CM

39 3/8 in X 31 1/2 in

140CM x 110CM

55 1/8 in X 43 5/16 in