Maketi Ples artists enthrall Sydney art lovers


Sydney art lovers have been making a constant beeline to take in the works of 33 Pacific island artists on display at the third Maketi Ples show in Paddington’s Global Gallery. The show opened last week with a crowd of more than 230 people and first day sales of artworks surpassed those of the previous two years.<!--more-->

[caption id="attachment_4561" align="alignright" width="500"]<a href=""><img class="size-full wp-image-4561" alt="Pacific artists at the Australian Museum in Sydney Photo: Dev Nadkarni" src="" width="500" height="350" /></a> Pacific artists at the Australian Museum in Sydney Photo: Dev Nadkarni[/caption]

That weekend, the artists displayed their skills actually working on their art and craft before enthusiastic visitors. They also spoke at length about their art and told stories about their homeland and their lifestyles, which added to the unique atmosphere at the gallery.

While in the city, more than a dozen Pacific island artists visited the Australian Museum’s impressive Pacific collection and spent hours poring over the works of artists from the region some of which were hundreds of years old.

Some of them like Florence Jankae of Papua New Guinea were delighted to find their own works in the collection. The museum has acquired some of their work from previous Maketi Ples events.

An initiative of <b>Pacific Islands Trade &amp; Invest</b> (PT&amp;I), the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s trade commission, Maketi Ples has emerged as the most significant event showcasing and selling Pacific arts and crafts outside the islands region.

Proceeds from the sale of artworks directly go to the artists and their communities, encouraging the preservation of indigenous art forms and techniques, while bringing in incomes for the artists and artisans.

Over the next three years, PT&amp;I plan to extend the exposure of Pacific arts and crafts geographically. “We are looking at the possibility of hosting multiple events in a year at various locations in Australia as well as other countries, using the PT&amp;I network,” says PT&amp;I Australia Trade Commissioner Caleb Jarvis. The trade commission also has offices in New Zealand, China, Japan and Switzerland, besides Australia.

“So far it has been an extremely satisfying and rewarding experience for Pacific arts, artists and artisans,” Mr Jarvis says. “We would like to see more artists from the entire region benefit from it.”

Maketi Ples has helped sell more than A$250,000 worth of arts and crafts since its inaugural show in 2011.

<i>View the <a href=";fref=ts"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">PT&amp;I Facebook page</span> </a>for more pictures about the event, the artists and their art.</i>