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Treasures Of The Seychelles

Seychelles coco de mer tree grows in Germany

May 06, 2011

FRANKFURT, Germany - An exhibit that juxtaposes nature’s art — a genuine coco de mer — and man-made art in the form of photographs by German photographer Angelika Fischer, as well as paintings and etchings by Seychelles artists George and Flocel Camille, is being held in Frankfurt, Germany. The coco de mer tree is thriving in Germany, nearly 4,700 miles from its indigenous home in Seychelles.

The coco de mer tree and other “Treasures of the Seychelles,” as the title of a brand-new exhibition promises, currently awaits visitors at Frankfurt’s Palmengarten, a lush botanical garden in the heart of this busy city and one of the few places in the world outside the Seychelles that has managed to grow this tree.

Guests at the official opening on 20 April 2011 were welcomed by the director of the institution, Dr. Matthias Jenny, as well as Edith Hunzinger, regional manager of the local Seychelles Tourist Office, who had originally donated the seeds for the tree to Dr. Jenny’s predecessor many years ago. As a representative of the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF), its Chief Executive Officer, German-born Dr. Frauke Fleischer-Dogley, was able to introduce the audience to the Seychelles Island Foundation’s important work in their own language. At the end of her speech, she surprised Dr. Jenny with the gift of another coco de mer freshly imported from Praslin.

The opening was also attended by Max Hunzinger, Honorary Consul for the Seychelles in Germany, as well as other dignitaries and representatives of the local government.

Flocel Camille, who has been living in Germany for the last six years, and his younger brother, George, also attended the opening of the month-long exhibition that displays a number of paintings representing the Seychelles islands’ bountiful nature in general, as well as etchings highlighting the coco de mer in particular. Another part of the hall shows impressive black-and-white photographs of the Vallée de Mai and its coco de mer trees, captured by Angelika Fischer, a well-known freelance photographer from Berlin, who visited the Seychelles several times in the past and had her work published in Mare, a glossy travel magazine, as well as in the book, Coco de Mer: Myth and Eros of the Sea Coconut, co-published by Dr. Fleischer-Dogley. A local porcelain manufacturer, Höchster Porzellanmanufaktur, established in 1746, contributed a replica of the coco de mer to the exhibition.

The exhibit is open to all visitors of the Palmengarten from April 21 through May 22, 2011. On the nights of May 7-8, Frankfurt will celebrate its annual “Museum Night,” when all of the city’s museums, including the Palmengarten, will be accessible to the public throughout the night. On this special occasion, Emmanuel Marie and dancers from the Seychelles will add another aspect of the islands’ culture to the exhibit by providing Creole music and entertainment.

Visitors of the exhibit have a chance to win a one-week holiday for two on Praslin, co-sponsored by Condor airline and the Coco de Mer Hotel. In addition, in a special “Museum Night” raffle at one o’clock on Sunday morning, two visitors will win another one-week holiday on Praslin, co-sponsored by Condor and the Castello Beach Hotel.

The Palmengarten ( ), one of two adjacent botanical gardens in the city of Frankfurt/Main, Germany, was established by local citizens in 1868 and opened in 1871. On 22 hectares, it displays a wide variety of beautiful and interesting plants throughout the year — both in the open and in spacious greenhouses — and also offers a broad range of recreational activities, including guided tours, summer concerts, evening festivals, and exhibitions. The Palmengarten is known around the world for its large collections of tropical and subtropical plants, and with an area of 5,000 m², the Tropicarium, which also houses the coco de mer tree, is one of the world’s largest complexes of greenhouses.

Seychelles coco de mer tree grows in Germany
L to R: Dr. Jenny, Dr. Fleischer-Dogley, Ms. Hunzinger, Mr. Hunzinger / Photo by Rafael Herlich

Source: Seychelles Tourism Board

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