Artistic Flair at Kanuhura, Maldives
March 04 2020
March 04 2020
For those fortunate enough to visit the dazzling gem of Kanuhura, the tropical resort island in the Lhaviyani Atoll that’s surrounded by temperate azure waters and adorned with vivid tropical gardens, it’s hard to fathom a more perfect or naturally beautiful place on earth.
The image of paradise, the extraordinary five-star resort boasts exceptional tropical scenes, silk-soft, powder-fine beaches, and carefully designed accommodation options that perfectly meld natural and elegant-inspired elements—for many, Kanuhura is a work of art in its own right.
The creation of Kanuhura was greatly inspired by its remarkable surrounds, the Maldives as a whole and Paul Gaugin’s incredible pieces that beautifully showcase vivid and idyllic island scenes. Kanuhura’s design concept was described as follows:“ Inspired by the colours and shapes of the islands we wanted to build a resort with a unique bohemian spirit. Created for the adventurer who wants to escape everyday life and enjoy what island holidays have to offer, but still with that touch of glam. We look at Gauguin’s works for inspiration, as he spent time on the islands and brings an intensity of colour. We used natural elements and colours that have [positive] psychological effect on people – a similar stress-reducing effect experienced in nature as well.”
Art, nature and Kanuhura are seamlessly intertwined, but the idea of art at Kanuhura is not limited to its gorgeous natural surrounds and beautiful design elements and colour palette. Artistic flair is found throughout the resort on a number of levels to inspire, delight and dazzle.
Interested in all things arty and beautiful? Here’s what you need to know about art in the Maldives and at Kanuhura:
The Maldives is home to exceptional arts and crafts
This fantastic island nation has a long, complex and rich history that centres on its connection with Asia and ancient trade routes. Handicraft traditions have been passed from generation to generation, and the arts and crafts made today in the Maldives are a testament to these age-old skills.
Many of the local products found in the Maldives are authentic and unique, made predominantly from raw materials that are easily available across the island nation. Palm leaves, reeds, coral, wood, shells, stones, natural oils and paints and coir (coconut fibre) are all popular materials used for traditional Madlivan handicrafts. Some of the most extraordinary crafts include those centred on lacquer work, mat weaving, boat building and coir-rope making.
Some Maldivians have taken these crafts or their love of art further by studying the subject at the Maldives National University or the Villa College in the capital city of Malé. Social media also plays a pivotal role in the art scene in the Maldives, as it allows Maldivian artists to be inspired and even learn from artists from around the world. Art in the Maldives, as with many destinations around the globe, is very loved and hugely important.
There are artistic decorations scattered throughout Kanuhura
Special occasions at Kanuhura are always celebrated in style and complemented by special, artistic creations or arrangements. For example, if you were to get married or renew your vows at Kanuhura, there would be special decorations, many of which would be made from palm leaves, vines and gorgeous, local flowers.
Coconut husks also form part of the decorations at Kanuhura, and oftentimes are used as ‘vases’, with other plants growing out of them.
Palm leaves are hugely versatile and used for many Maldivian decorations. In fact, at A Mano, look out for little decorations made by the waiters. Also keep an eye out for food that has been made into artworks, either in the presentation of the dish or with the addition of a gorgeous patterned loaf of bread or carved fruit. The incredibly talented chefs at Kanuhura are highly-skilled at carving fruit with intricate patterns which adds a wonderful touch to the buffets (look for these creative art pieces in A Mano amongst the buffet offerings).
On rainy days, there are also classes where guests are able to make their own palm leaf decorations.
The resort’s wonderful villa attendants also like to surprise their guests with bed decorations (on arrival and for special occasions), create unbelievable towel art (by expertly folding the towels into wonderful shapes) and use local flower petals and palm leaves to enhance their designs. If you would like a particular room setup or creative bubble bath with artistic additions, you can arrange this with your villa host.
At Kanuhura, there is no need for canvases—art and artistic, creative and talented individuals can be found everywhere.
Kids can show off their own artistic flair at the kids club
Kanuhura is home to an absolutely exceptional kids club which ensures that the resort's small guests can have the holiday of their lives while their parents indulge in a little rest and relaxation. There is a huge variety of activities on offer at Kanuhura from outdoor adventures to sports, water-based activities, cooking classes and of course, arts and crafts classes.
The kids club counsellors at Kanuhura are very talented. They paint beautiful walls inside the kids club and offer a number of different classes for the children to unleash their inner creativity.
The villas are absolutely stunning
The interior design and furniture of the fabulous villas at Kanuhura were carefully and gorgeously designed by “the world’s leading hospitality design firm”, HBA. Designers from this well-known firm beautifully blended Maldivian and elegant elements to create a tranquil space for guests to unwind and relax in. There is a wide variety of accommodation options on offer for guests, but the luxury comforts and trendy bohemian feel remain a constant.
Kanuhura has an in-house artist
Towards the end of 2018, Kanuhura hired their very own in-house artist as part of their housekeeping department; his name is Ruhushan. He is responsible for the wall art, welcome cards (complete with his special images of mantas) special occasion decorations and coconut signs throughout the resort.
Before Ruhushan started working at Kanuhura, he worked in a souvenir shop where one of his responsibilities was to create T-shirts with paintings of typical Maldivian scenes, which are quite splendid. Through his art, Ruhushan is able to find peace and mental rest—it’s the perfect way for him to break away from the chaos of the modern world. Apart from that, his art allows him to be creative and to even build his self-esteem—it’s incredibly fulfilling for him to see people enjoy his work.
Ruhushan is a self-taught artist—he has used YouTube and Pinterest to inspire him and to help him learn new techniques and skills. Despite experimenting with other mediums, he loves to use acrylic paints predominantly (as he feels oil paints take too long to dry) and he largely paints on plywood and canvas.
While he never studied art (he actually has a business qualification), he has always loved art and has been dedicated to the craft since he was a child. He first started his artistic journey in primary school by doing pencil sketches, something that he still enjoys doing today.
Ruhushan creates his artworks in a small workshop that is filled with different types of paints, sprays, plywood pieces, canvas, flowers, a hairdryer, frames and stands (among other items), to help him create his masterpieces.
Most of the time he works by himself, but when there are bigger events, he will receive help from his department as well as others. One of his biggest challenges at work has been learning about flowers and using them in bouquets and decorations as he has never done this before, but he enjoys the challenge and the chance to learn a new skill.
Ruhushan is a huge inspiration for others and he spends his free time teaching aspiring young artists. Some of his best work so far was the artwork he did for the New Year’s Eve party which took long days of hard work, but the outcome and the positive feedback was hugely rewarding for him. It makes him feel very proud when his work is appreciated and loved.
Art can be found at every turn when you are on holiday in Kanuhura, it’s just about taking the time to notice it. Want to see Kanuhura’s unique artistic surprises and nuances for yourself? Then book your luxurious once-in-a-lifetime stay today.