Pacific Islands art exhibition hailed a success

12/03/2012 13:54


Goroka-based bilum dress maker Florence Jaukae with an Australian modelling one of her products.


The Maketi Ples art exhibition in Sydney, Australia has been hailed as a success with artists thankful for the exposure that the annual event continues to give to talented Pacific Islanders.

Papua New Guinea’s Goroka-based artist Florence Jaukae, 39, said the exhibition hosted by the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commission (PITIC) in Sydney was a privilege for Pacific Island artists.

“We are very privileged to have this kind of exhibition, especially from an organisation (PITIC) that gives us the opportunity to make an income from what we do back in our home countries. It is a new kind of experience for us, where we are mostly based back home in our countries, but this exhibition has changed that for us,” she said.

Port Moresby-based artist Jeffry Feeger, who gave a live demonstration during the exhibition last Friday, said Maketi Ples was a starting point for exposure to Pacific Islands’ contemporary art and the region’s artists.

“It (Maketi Ples) encompasses the crafts world like bilum weaving and various different crafts as well. These are crafts don’t have prominence and good exposure in Australia so they’ve (PITIC) established a platform for that. This is the second year now that it is running, it is improving. I think it is getting more coverage and you know it is just about penetrating the minds of people here.”

This year’s exhibition featured the work of 20 artists from PNG (Martin Morububuna, Laben Sakale, Vinz Blaq, Jimmy Amamao, Florence Jaukae, Goroka Bilum Weavers Cooperative, Agnes Posanai, Henry Iyaro and Bob Iyalu), Cook Islands (Kay George and Loretta Reynolds), Tonga (Tupe Langi, Sione Maileseni, Tevita Latu and Vola Tuimela’atu), Federated States of Micronesia (Yvonne Neth), Fiji (Abraham Langi and Tessa Miller) and Solomon Islands (Ralph Ako and Luke Lua).

PITIC creative arts manager Ruth Choulai, who coordinated the art exhibition, said they received positive feedback from visitors as well as art collectors.

“It has been absolutely (in terms of feedback). My greatest fear as the coordinator was that could we match last year’s event and some of the comments that came to me on the opening night were that we have kicked it up another level. That Maketi Ples is just going up and rising,” she said.

The Maketi Ples art exhibition opened at Sydney’s Global Gallery last month and ended today and is an initiative of the PITIC.