Participants demonstrate their artwork after the week-long workshop at USP.
A week-long weaving workshop from 4 to 8 July at The University of the South Pacific (USP) proved successful with participants from a wide cross-section of the community.
In collaboration with Macquarie University, the Fiji Museum and Fiji Arts Council, the workshop is part of a larger research project on weaving in Fiji that has been approved by the Fiji’s i-Taukei Affairs Ministry.
Visual Arts Coordinator at USP’s Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies (OCACPS), Johanna Beasely said the aim of the workshop is to share, and gather information about the variety of ways mats are woven in Fiji and the associated traditional knowledge.
This was accomplished by bringing together academics whose research area is mats, and expert weavers from different parts of Fiji.
Other participants included anthropology students from Macquarie University, visual artists from the Oceania Centre and interested members of staff and students of USP.
The results of the workshop have been incorporated into a temporary exhibition on weaving in the Fiji Museum, which will open on 27 July and a possible publication in the journal of the Fiji Museum ‘Domodomo’.
Inspired by the presentations, demonstrations and discussions, Ms Beasley worked with the artists and weavers who are influenced by the traditional weaving presentations to create contemporary artworks related to weaving.
Artworks created during the workshop are being exhibited at the Oceania Gallery at OCACPS in USP.
The workshop featured demonstrations by expert weavers from Macuata in Vanua Levu, Matuku in the Lau group and Vutia in the province of Rewa.
There was also practical basic and contemporary weaving lessons, a session on Weaving in Fiji by Dr Jara Hulkenberg of USP, a session on Rotuman mats by Ms Rosarina Rafai, a Master of Arts student at USP and one on new ways of weaving by Ms Beasley.
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