Pacific art lovers throng Maketi Ples 2013 opening


<p style="text-align: justify;">More than 230 art and craft lovers thronged a Sydney art gallery this week to witness the opening of Maketi Ples 2013, the biggest event of its kind that showcases arts and crafts from the Pacific islands region. An initiative of Pacific Trade &amp; Invest, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s (PIFS) trade and investment office, the show will run for three weeks until March 10.</p>
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[caption id="attachment_4522" align="aligncenter" width="400"]<a href=""><img class="size-full wp-image-4522 " alt="Maketiples2013-lrg" src="" width="400" height="250" /></a> Pacific art enthusiasts at the inauguration of Maketi Ples 2013 in Sydney this week. Photo: Dev Nadkarni.[/caption]
<p style="text-align: justify;">Andie Fong Toy, PIFS’ Deputy Secretary General officially declared the event open after Caleb Jarvis, PT&amp;I Australia Trade Commissioner, welcomed the guests. The Maketi Ples initiative has helped expose the Pacific’s unique arts and crafts to a much wider audience bringing both recognition and economic benefits to individual artists and their communities around the region. The first two events had sold more than A$220,000 worth of artworks, Mr Jarvis said.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Extending the Forum secretariat’s support to the Maketi Ples initiative, Ms Fong Toy said, “When properly organized and developed, the cultural industries in the Pacific have great potential for economic activity. Producers will be able to benefit financially from their skills and drive growth within the Micro, Small and Medium enterprises sector.”</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">This year’s event features the work of some 33 artists and art groups from seven countries including Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands. “Participation in terms of both the artists and the attendees to the inauguration of the event this year has doubled,” PT&amp;I’s Ruth Choulai told Pacific Periscope. Ms Choulai has been coordinating the event from PT&amp;I’s Sydney offices since the inaugural annual show three years ago.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Artworks featured include some of the most exciting contemporary visual art, textiles and 3-D artisan works: drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, ceramics, textiles and garments, basketry and weaving, woodwork, carving and jewellery besides other arts and crafts based on traditional techniques. Several works of art sold on the inaugural day. PT&amp;I’s Paula Bjelanovic said sales were up about 30 per cent over last year’s inaugural day.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">“This is much bigger than the inaugural event two years ago,” Solomon Islands woodcarver Ralph Ako told Pacific Periscope. He had missed last year’s event. Florence Jankae from Papua New Guniea’s Eastern Highlands, who has attended every year, said that event was the “best thing that has happened to Pacific artists.” The acknowledged champion of the unique Bilum craft said, “Maketi Ples had helped raise the standard of the art throughout the communities thanks to the international exposure.”</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">For more pictures of the event, please visit the PT&amp;I Facebook Page <a href=""><strong>here.</strong></a></p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Maketi Ples 2013 is being held at the Global Gallery, 5, Comber Street, Paddington, Sydney, NSW, from February 20 to March 10. Several Pacific artists will be available for interaction at the venue during the show.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">ABC radio report on Maketi Ples, to listen to the report click <strong><a href="">here</a></strong>.</p>