Mauritius Students Prize

The Sovereign Art Foundation Mauritius Students Prize aims to celebrate the importance of art in the education system and to recognise the quality of art that can be produced by young students. We believe that art plays a vital role in fostering creativity and building confidence within young adults and is sometimes under emphasised in schools.

Established in 2016, the Prize invites secondary schools in Mauritius to select five students to submit one art work each to represent their school. Each school’s chosen art work is then entered into the Prize, where a select panel of judges will shortlist 12 finalists and then 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winners will be chosen from those 12. The winning artworks will be announced and exhibited publicly on September 5, 2016.

The judges for the Sovereign Art Foundation Students Prize, Mauritius 2016 are:


Vaco, Artist

Vaco was born in Mauritius in 1940 where he exhibited for the first time in 1958. His second exhibition was in Reunion Island in 1960. For the following three years he worked with Serge Constantin and Siegfried Sammer at thier studio in the Plaza theatre, Rose Hill.

From 1964 to 1970 he left Mauritius to study art in Brussels and Paris. After his studies in Europe he moved to Africa and stayed for the following 20 years. In 1990 he finally returned to his native isle to pursue his passion. Vaco opened a studio where he gave art lessons to adults and children. At the same time he was commissioned to paint large paintings and murals for the islands principle establishments as well as exhibiting his own work along with his students. In 1998 he opened his own gallery in Grand Bay which was inaugurated by the president of Mauritius, Mr Cassam Uteem.

Vaco has represented Mauritius at important international exhibitions with his aesthetic metaphors of islands, sun and light.

In 1993 he represented Mautirius in the 90th salon d’Automne in Paris. He exhibited in Brussels from 12th June to 27th July 2001 by invitation from Ministry of Development and Cooperation of the European Union. Following his exhibition in Brussels he exhibited in Fribourg, Switzerland from the 17th to the 30th November. From the 19th the 31st of October 2002 Vaco transported his canvasses to Paris where he was invited by the Mayor of St Germain en Laye for an exhibition at musée Véra. From the 25th of September to the 31st October 2003 he exhibited at the prestigious gallery ARTE92 in Milan, Italy with great success.

In December 2005 Vaco exhibited “Voyages aux mers du Sud” (Voyages on the Southern seas) which was inspired by his travels to Australia, New Zealand, Polynesia and the Marquise Islands. “Voyages aux mers du Sud” was Vaco’s first exhibition in Mauritius in eight years.In January 2008 Vaco has a private exhibition in Hong Kong and the year ends with an exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland.End of March 2009 Vaco hosted a workshop with the pupils of the Lycée La Bourdonnais in Curepipe and produced a mural with the students.

Nirveda Alleck, Artist and Lecturer

Born in 1975, Nirveda Alleck is a multidisciplinary artist from Mauritius. She undertook her undergraduate studies at Michaelis School of Fine Art in South Africa, and did her MFA at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland in 2001. She has participated in international workshops in Namibia, South Africa, India, Lebanon, Mali and Mauritius, and had held residencies at the Bag Factory Studios in Johannesburg as well as in Scotland, Reunion Island, Namibia, Mali, and Mauritius.

She was offered a Francis Greenburger Fellowship in 2011 to undertake a residency at Art Omi in the USA. Nirveda Alleck has participated in numerous international exhibitions: Diplomatic Immunity in NY in 2001, 11th Triennale India in 2005, Pan African Arts Festival in Algeria in 2009, Francophonie Games in Beirut, Arts Actuels Biennale in Reunion Island, World Festival of Black Arts in Dakar. She was part of Focus 11 Contemporary Art Africa at Art Basel in 2011, and also received in the same year the Bank One Emma Award in Arts and Culture in Mauritius. Her work was amongst the 3 shortlisted for the FNB Johannesburg Art Fair Prize in 2011.

Alleck was a laureate at the Dak’Art Biennale 2010, where she was awarded the Soleil d’Afrique Prize, and she was again part of the Dakar Biennale in 2012. Her recent video works have been show at the College des Bernardins in Paris, Marakesh Biennale Parallel projects, Africa Utopia in London, Ben Uri Gallery in the UK, and Analogue Eye at the National Arts Festival in South Africa and in Mannheim Germany.

Formerly a lecturer in Art Education in Mauritius, Alleck worked as an Art Consultant at the Aapravasi Ghat World Heritage Site in Mauritius, and currently lectures part time at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute in Moka, Mauritius.

Nalini Treebhoobun, Senior Lecturer

Born in Mauritius and currently lecturing at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute’s School of Fine Arts at Moka, Nalini Treebhoobun has merged an enriching and successful artistic career within the arena of tertiary education.
A graduate of the Sorbonne in Paris, she received her Doctorate conferred by Delhi University, after having presented her thesis on the legacy and evolution of a variety of artistic creations relating to the Indian immigration to Mauritius. Since then she has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions both internationally and in Mauritius, none of which has gone unnoticed.

In 1994 she exhibited at the Autumn Salon in Paris and the Seychelles Arts Biennale, premiers which opened the doors to her artistic universe. In 1998 she organized an exhibition in Amsterdam to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Dutch to Mauritius.

In 2000, she participated at the Cairo International Art Biennale and “Rebuilding History through the Eyes of an Artist for the Aapravasi Ghat Trust Fund” was the theme of another exhibition for the soon to be nominated World Heritage Site in Mauritius. The 11th Triennial of Delhi and the Art Biennale of East Africa, in 2005, represented a boon to her status as an artist, allowing her to enhance her talents, while progressing to a new level of artistry.

The year 2011 found Nalini setting sail for South Africa to highlight her newfound skills at the Joburg Art Fair.  And in 2012, the artist traded her brush for the pen and wrote “Dress and Identity,” about the Indian immigrants to Mauritius, one of a series of articles designed and published by Dr. Vijayalakshmi Teelock for the Aapravasi Ghat Trust Fund.


More recently, her creativity has continued to flow, as seen in an exhibition of traditional clothing entitled, “19th Century Garments Worn by the Indian Woman Immigrant ”, held in 2015, whereby her passion for art continues to transcend barriers.

Submission deadline for entries – 22 August, 2016

Shortlisted works announced – 29 August, 2016

Exhibition and Award Ceremony – 5 September, 2016

Thank you to Circle Square Retail Park, which is kindly providing the venue for the Exhibition and Awards Ceremony.


If you would like to sponsor the Mauritius Students Prize please get in touch with Bernadette Fulton at