Professor Rajesh Chandra, Mr Winston Thompson, Professor Thaman, Professor Ahluwalia, Dr Yeates and two of the five artists in front of the mural after it was unveiled.
As part of its 50th Anniversary celebrations, The University of the South Pacific (USP) officially unveiled the USP 50th Anniversary Mural outside the Japan-Pacific ICT Centre at the Laucala Campus on 13 December 2018.
The mural was painted by a team of local artists who were commissioned by the 50th Anniversary Committee.
The artists, Anare Somumu, Lingikoni Vaka’uta, Josaia Mc Namara, Jeke Lagi and William Camakau have titled the mural, “Celebrating the Pacific”, drawn from the 50th Anniversary theme. “Celebrating the Pacific, Shaping its Future”.
Professor Konai Helu Thaman, who introduced the artists and spoke of the work put into the mural on behalf of Dr Akanisi Kedrayate, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) stated that the mural draws on the underpinning indigenous and local ideas and values that connect us to land, sky and sea.
“This mural represents the University’s sea of islands – its member countries and their diverse cultures, reflected in the carefully constructed twelve (12) panels which tell the story of the USP journey and shows in sequence the growth of the University community,” she said.
According to Professor Thaman, the artists engaged in research and completed the project over a three-week period.
“Many of us still do not recognise that the arts and creative practice is research based and I hope that this mural may help to shift this mindset,” she added.
Following the order in which member countries joined the University, the mural depicts iconic cultural symbols from each nation and draws from the official USP tapa featuring each individual country design (kupesi).
From left to right they are Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Vanuatu, Niue, Tokelau, Nauru and Marshall Islands.
The Oceanic narrative binds these island nations with heritage elements of the Blue Continent showcasing to the world, the unique and special relationship that Pacific peoples have with the land, sea and sky.
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