Monday, August 18, 2008

Eastern Highlands Cultural centre

The Eastern Highlands Cultural Centre in Kainantu, Eastern Highlands, has been quietly involved in producing quality arts and crafts for the tourism and local markets over the years.
It also buys a lot of works from local artists in and around the Kainantu area.
This is despite the fact that it is basically self-supporting, despite coming under the Eastern Highlands provincial government, and has been doing so for the last 25 years.
“We make pottery, rugs from local sheep skin, as well as do screen printing,” said supervisor Remi Yabuki.
“We also buy arts and crafts from outsiders and resell.”
Business was booming during the 1990s and before that, but has slowed down since because of the law and order problem, which inhibits visitors to Kainantu.
Because of this, Mr Yabuki said they bring their arts and crafts to the PNG Coffee Festival & Trade Fair, Goroka Show and Morobe Show to sell.
Of course, there are the buyers who stop at Kainantu, but these have slowed down to a trickle.
“In the 1990s, and before that, we used to do a lot of sales,” he said.
“But after 2000, because of law and order problems along the road (Highlands Highway), sales have dropped.
“We look at expatriates to do most of our buying.
“We are self-sufficient and do not depend on the provincial government for wages, power bills and others.”
The Eastern Highlands Cultural Centre employs four potters, three wavers, and three sales assistants.
They had reason to be happy at the 2006PNG Coffee Festival & Trade Fair in Goroka, when they received a runner-up prize of K600 from the Small Business Development Corporation for best small business.

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