Maketi Ples strides into its fifth year

18/08/2015

Maketi Ples, the Pacific Islands Trade &amp; Invest (PT&amp;I) coordinated annual event of Pacific Islands Art Sydney is into its fifth year and bigger and better than ever.<!--more-->

<a href="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Maketiples-banner1.jpg"><img class=" size-full wp-image-5675 alignleft" src="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Maketiples-banner1.jpg" alt="Maketiples banner1" width="138" height="104" /></a>The two-week exhibition will be held in Sydney’s Shapiro Gallery from August 26 to September 9.

“Maketi Ples is a crucial step in the support of the creative arts in the Pacific Islands region,” says PT&amp;I Australia Acting Trade Commissioner Jeremy Grennell.

“By investing in the promotion of these skills, we are promoting the placement of a contemporary value on the traditional knowledge and expressions of culture of the Pacific Islands communities.”

It offers an opportunity to introduce Australian consumers, designers, retailers, importers and the media to a wide range of contemporary and traditional works of art created in the Pacific Islands, he says.

The stunning showcase of Pacific Island art and artists displaying visual art, drawings, painting and printmaking, textiles, basketry, weaving and wood work has now grown into a big draw on the Sydney arts and crafts scene.

This year’s collection has some of the most exciting contemporary visual art, textiles, 3-D artisan works and homeware from the Pacific region’s leading and emerging artists.

Artists from Niue and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) will be exhibiting for the first time, while artists from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Fiji will be returning.

More than 85 artists have exhibited at Maketi Ples since the start in 2011 but one artist who has lifted the profile of women’s art and textiles in Papua New Guinea is Florence Kamel of the Bilum Weavers Association based in Goroka, PNG’s Eastern Highlands Province.

A bilum dress designed and made by Florence Jaukae was shown on the runway at the LDNY Festival in New York’s UN building.

Bilum is described on the Australian Museum website as the ancient twisting and looping technique using woven plant fibres to make traditional bags that carry babies, food suppliers, for ceremonial dancing, body adornment and sorcery. When marriages are arranged in PNG, the husband and his family send a bilum bag as part of the bride price. After the exchange is made and the marriage finalised, the girl slings the bag across her forehead to notify all she is married.

The tradition however began to change when Florence one day decided to sew her bilum into a dress and wear it to town. The town talked and soon she began receiving orders. More women are now wearing the bags over their shoulders and Florence sells a variety of dresses, hats and scarves in a range of colours, patterns and materials.

Designs by the Weavers Association have been exhibited annually at the exhibition but they made a major breakthrough being invited to exhibit at top of the line art galleries.

A number of other artists have enjoyed success from exhibitions at Maketi Ples and art work has gone on to be displayed at the Australian Museum and the Australian Collecting Institute of Contemporary Arts Practice.

For more information please contact PT&amp;I Events Manager Paula Bjelanovic at PT&amp;I Sydney, paula@pacifictradeinvest.com

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