By MALUM NALU
A new art gallery, Beyond Pacific Art, featuring Papua New Guinea and Pacific art will open in Brisbane on March 17.
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.
“I have searched, asked and visited many galleries in Australia,” she says.
“In Queensland and other states, none of the gallery owners would take PNG and Pacific arts.”
This is what irks Leahy and makes her want to open her own art gallery.
“The concentration here is on indigenous arts, local and Asian art,” she adds.
“Work from Thursday Island - which depicts PNG’s cultural relationship - is accepted but anything else from PNG or the Pacific is thought to be ‘high risk’ for galleries to take on, for fear they may not be sold.”
Leahy previously founded Kalem Kollection, a clothing line depicting PNG prints from 1991 till 2005; and Beyond Art, an art gallery in Port Moresby for over 17 years.
She also brought to fame the Pacific Storms Contemporary Art Exhibition, in which artists from 27 Pacific islands and states show their work every two years.
The exhibition promotes the effects of climate change in island countries across the Pacific.
Leahy believes she has done enough marketing for Pacific and PNG arts in Australia and believes the opportunities are there to sell exclusively.
|Joycelin Leahy surrounded by PNG artwork which will be on display in her new gallery|
She moved to Brisbane eight years ago to pursue a museum masters programme at University of Queensland.
Since completing the programme, she has returned on regular basis to work in art, culture, heritage as well as sustainable business programme in PNG and internationally.
She is recognised amongst her peers as an expert on art, culture and heritage with a particular interest in protection of intangible heritage.
She hopes that opening her own gallery will promote dancing, languages, weaving and many other traditional skills from PNG and other islands apart from selling both contemporary and traditional handicrafts.
These skills will be taught through workshops in creative learning art space (CLAS) on premises.
PNG and Pacific diaspora will be invited to take part in as guest tutors apart from her.
The director general of the Office of Tourism in PNG, Mari Ellingson, will officiate at the opening.