Thursday, March 08, 2012

A dream come true for journo, artist


A DREAM comes true for journalist and artist, Joycelin Leahy, when her  new art gallery, Beyond Pacific Art, featuring Papua New Guinea and Pacific art,  opens in Brisbane on March 17, The National reports.

 The gallery is located 20 minutes from Brisbane.
Owner, arts entrepreneur Joycelin Leahy from Wagang village in Lae, says it will be the first time a gallery is opened in Australia to exclusively retail and promote PNG and Pacific arts.
Beyond Pacific Art (BPA) was originally established in PNG as Beyond Art by journalist and artist, Joycelin Leahy,  in 1991.

Joycelin Leahy

 It was a place for art retail and exhibition, providing the only retail gallery for PNG artists.
From its simple beginnings, BPA grew into a multi-facetted business for art, culture, and heritage projects and art advice.
BPA was also a manufacturer of PNG prints, local textile and furnishings.
Under clothing label KalemKollections, BPA set a new trend in PNG for corporate uniforms with indigenous art motifs.

 Suki baskets will be among other PNG and Pacific crafts to be sold at the gallery

Meri Simbu - artwork by Joycelin Leahy

Infinity - artwork by James Mason Lee, Fijian artist

 On interior and architectural work, BPA was responsible for wall features and wood carvings in the Bank of PNG.
BPA also sponsored and assisted in producing a number of major art shows for the Miss PNG Quest and PNG Red cross; the annual Waigani Art show; PNG Manufacturer’s show;  and Department of Trade and Industry business events and trade fairs.
BPA represented PNG internationally in the Festival of Pacific Art and World Festival for Island cultures.
In 2004, Leahy relocated to Brisbane to pursue a masters in museum studies.
 While studying, she continued her work in promoting handicrafts and contemporary arts of PNG and the Pacific Islands.
She wrote her thesis on how climate change affects intangible cultures in the Pacific Islands.
Her case study area was Tami Islands, in her home province of Morobe.
 With her business knowledge in the arts and, her traditional knowledge, she was regularly consulted on a number of reports and studies on cultural industries in PNG and the Pacific Islands through the Secretariat of Pacific Community and the Pacific Islands Trade and Invest.
Her interest remained in promoting sustainable cultural industries in PNG and the Pacific islands in order to protect and preserve intangible cultures such as language, dance, music, weaving and painting.
While completing her masters, she created Pacific Storms, a contemporary art exhibition in Australia which features key works from Pacific islanders.
“Pacific Storms is known as the only art exhibition that attracts the largest collection of contemporary artworks and the highest number of indigenous Pacific Island artists to Australia,” she said.
“Pacific Storms creates awareness on how climate change, globalisation and other contemporary issues affect Pacific Island cultures.
“The exhibition shows contemporary artwork whilst combining performances, music, story-telling, food and other intangible skills of the Pacific people.
“This first exhibition in Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery, Queensland, attracted over 4, 000 people and later in Brisbane city, 12,000 people visited the show.
“It was opened by rugby legend Mal Meninga. “
The third Pacific Storms, with new artwork, curated by Leahy was shown to over 3, 000 in Logan Art Gallery from May to June last year.
“Pacific Storms 2013 has been invited to show in Pacific Islands Ethnic Art Museum in Los Angeles,” Leahy says.
There were three publications from Pacific Storms.
In addition, Leahy under Beyond Pacific Art was a major contributor to the 2009 Festival of Pacific Arts Report.
“This consultation project was undertaken to evaluate the festival and make recommendations on how it could be improved with economic benefits to the 27 Pacific islands state and territories,” she says.
“It was sponsored by UNESCO and SPC.
“Beyond Pacific Art’s current task is to build capacity for weaving and handicraft export in the mine closure project areas: Suki, Fly and Gogodala as well as Middle Fly.
“Under the Women and Children’s Plan 2009-2019, aimed at empowering and increasing women’s participation in social and economic development in the region, women leaders in the trust region undergo capacity building skills and learn how to transit from traditional to commercial production for income.
“The workshops will lead to local, national and international exhibitions to promote the region’s art, culture and heritage in order to generate other income opportunities.”
Beyond Pacific Art’s role covered a large field of expertise in arts, heritage and culture.
This is due to Leahy’s own traditional knowledge, qualification, local and international art knowledge, her own art skills and her large network consisting of artists, the grassroots, government and the private sector in PNG and the Pacific.
Contact: Joyce­lin Leahy, 23 Lather Rd, Bellbowrie. QLD 4070. Australia

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