The opening night of Maketi Ples 2016, the annual Pacific Islands art & artisan exhibition was a massive success.
It was the biggest and best opening night by far said Pacific Trade & Invest (PT&I) Sydney Trade Commissioner Caleb Jarvis. Sales were huge and new connections were made with significant new retailers and buyers, he added.
Now in its sixth year, Maketi Ples, PT&I’s keystone event for contemporary Pacific Islands based artists and artisans, is back at the Shapiro Gallery, Woollahra, from September 29 to October 12.
With objects created by communities and individuals from nine Pacific Island nations, the Maketi Ples 2016 collection features some of the most exciting contemporary visual art, textiles and 3-D artisan works with a strong representation of women from around the region.
PT&I exhibitors to Maketi Ples come from Fiji, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu and Yap. Their displays are a diverse mix of art works at Maketi Ples 2016 including Visual art – prints and paintings; a range of body adornment; traditional textiles by artisan communities including basketry, weaving and Bilum; wood work and carving – highly crafted 3D artisan pieces based on traditional knowledge.
Maketi Ples was established in 2011 by PT&I Sydney to introduce a wide range of contemporary and traditional Pacific Islands works of art to an Australian audience of consumers, designers, retailers and importers. Since then, Maketi Ples has become the premier event for contemporary Pacific Islands-based artisans. Over 140 artists and creators have exhibited during this time, bringing their work to the attention of Australian buyers.
Maketi Ples has been made possible with the support of the Australian Government. Minister for International Development and the Pacific Australia Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells said, “The empowerment of women and girls is a key priority for Australia’s foreign trade and aid agenda in the Pacific Islands.”
“Australia is pleased to be supporting PT&I to help women use their traditional skills to benefit from the global economy. Our aid programme is increasingly seeking out innovative private sector partnerships like this, which bring sustainable livelihoods to some of the remotest communities in the Pacific,” she added.
Contemporary Bilum work from PNG will once again be a draw card of Maketi Ples coming from communities in Omie, Giluwe, Hagen and Telefomin. It features work from the Pacific’s most famous Bilum designer, Florence Jaukae Kamel.
“I’ve been exhibiting my work at Maketi Ples for 6 years,” Ms Kamel said, “and I’ve benefited from the support provided by Pacific Islands Trade and Invest’s Creative Arts Programme.
Florence’s works are now on the walls of leading international galleries including the Australian National Museum in Sydney and she has travelled as far as London and New York to collaborate with final year fashion students and encourage the incorporation of artisan work in mainstream fashion collections.