Exhibition “We Are Fiji”

exhibition banner

” i Viti, o sa tara na yaloqu”
                                      – ah Fiji, you’ve touched my soul.

This exhibition is a personal reflection on my time living in the Fiji Islands.  Fiji is a beautiful and complex country with an extremely rich cultural amalgamation of indigenous Fijian, Indo-fijian and of course British colonial influences.  

Fiji is a real juxtaposition of wealth and poverty, freedom and restrictions both political and cultural.  The images and video clips I have choosen for this exhibition  hope to provide a brief  insight to these uniquely Fijian diversities.


Music Video put together by Daniel Rae Costello in response to the Fiji Sevens World cup 2007.



Man and Woman in Patriarchal Society

 Josaia McNamara Patricarchal society cropped

Josaia McNamara
Man and Woman in Patriarchal Society, 2006
91 x 64 cm
Oil on Canvas

This piece was displayed as part of the Red Wave Collective, which is a group of prominent contemporary artists from the University of the South Pacific, Fiji. It encompasses much about life in Fiji.   The artist uses traditional patterns and vibrant colour that incorporate aspects of the many cultural values within Fijian society, in particular the domance of the Patriarchal society in both the traditional Fijian villages and also the Indian Family structures. 


Fijian Girl at Hindi Wedding 


Meg Campbell-Back, 2007
B&W Digital photograph

 An image from Meg’s personal blogsite,  Meg has been living in Fiji for nearly 4 years on Treasure Island with her family, she has learnt to speak Fijian and has been honing her photographic skills,   I wouldn’t be surprised if she started speaking  Hindi also next time I see her.    The  Hindi wedding ceremony is an incredibly colourful event that we have been priviledge to be invited to.  While  the practice of arranged marriages is still very prevalent,  who knows what the future will hold for this beautiful young girl.


Sunset over the Mamanucas

Sunset over the Mamanacus, 2000
Three Loose Coconuts, Peter Henning and Glen Craig
Colour digital print in Hard back book , “fiji time” , Three Loose Coconuts, 2000

A beautiful image of the Mamanucas Islands, home to the large majority of the Tourist Resorts. This image is typically what springs to mind when we as New Zealanders think of Fiji and where, as a tourist, we would most likely be holidaying.


Only in Fiji

My freinds and I had a saying “only in fiji” that we would use to descibe situations and attitudes that you would only come across in Fiji,  the following excerpt from a friends blogsite sums this up very well…

Natural Ice Cream Shop

 ME:  What time do you close ?

Ice Cream Guy:  9 pm

ME:  Every night ?

ICG:  Yes

Me:  What about tonight ?

ICG:  Tonight ?  8:30

only in fiji !


Freedom of Speech
publisher expelled

freedom of speech
unknown artist, published on Blogsite

This Blog site entitled “mi vida al reves or how two europeans got lost in Fiji” is written by a woman who lives in Suva, she initially setup the blog to keep in touch with family and friends in Europe. The site is full of relevant and inciteful comments as well as links to many fijian based websites.  At the moment, with the press being so heavily censored, the blog site has become  a  valueable source of information.  The images posted refer directly to the interference with the Fijians right to freedom of speech while the second makes reference to the expulsion of the third newspaper editor over the last year. 


Fiji TimeTom & Chris Mana Island 05

Fiji Time on Mana Island
Dorothy de Lautour, 2005
Digital Photograph

An idylic holiday on one the many beautiful islands in the Mamanuca group where parents and kids can really relax,


The Legend of Duacina

The Legend of Duacina

William Bakalevu
The Legend of Duacina, 2006
Oil on Canvas
201 x 177 cm

A contemporary take on a traditional legend, this painting reflects the colours of fiji with its use of  blues and greens, as well as a reference to traditional weaving. The painting seems to have a very Escher like influence with the fish patterns fitting into one another.  The artist is also a member of the Red Wave Collective of Pacific Artists, and was part of the Red Wave exhibition, London, 2006.


 Vonu ni Cakau IVonu ni Cakau I

Maria Rova
Vonu ni Cakau I, 2008
Oil on Barkcloth (masi)
26 x 50 cm

‘Vonu ni Cakau’ is fijian meaning ‘Turtle of the Reef’ .  Turtles are  revered in island legends as symbols of wisdom and blessing, though their numbers are dwindling there are several breeding programs happening within Fiji,  this painting is celebrating their annual return.  Maria is an American who married a local Fijian and has lived in Fiji for the last 10 years,  her images are bold and colorful, drawing inspiration from the colour and diversity of the landscape, seascape, flora and fauna and animals, predominately printed on silk or bark cloth (or masi).  Maria has also been involved in Australian Aid sponsored art workshops for local people looking to produce  a variety of artworks, as well as providong another opportunity of creating income.


Nacula School, Yasawa Islands


nacula school
Meg Campbell-Back, 2007
Colour Digital photograph

A very typical classroom found throughout Fiji,  the resources are pretty minimal and the school caters for a number of villages.  Often these school will have children  boarding from Monday through to Friday.  We have always found the teachers and students very friendly and welcoming,  often tourists that come to visit the schools will also make a donation of some kind.


Gateway to Suva  suvaprison1

Meg Campbell-Back, 2007
Colour Digital photograph

If you drive from Nadi into Suva the first thing to great you is the Suva prison, a relect from the Colonial Past, it is a grim building no matter how it is dressed up with murals. 


Cartoon from The Australian newspaper


Peter Nicholson
The Australian newspaper, 26 May 2000


George Speight lead coup in 2000, which took over Parliment at gunpoint.  This an interesting historical cartoon as only really the players have changed from the Council of Chiefs behind the coup,  now disbanded by current regime, to the Military coup that is in power currently.  It is clear that attitudes and ideas on how to resolve differences of opinion has not been dealt with,  I doubt whether Fiji can get the stability it needs until this basic process can work in reality.


New Zealand Herald Article’s

Fiji compared to Burma as junta tightens its grip

Page 1 of 2 View as a single page 7:41AM Tuesday Apr 14, 2009
By Yvonne Tahana
This article is an example of the reporting that I have found typical of the New Zealand and Australian press.  Sometimes I  wonder whether the journalists have actually been to Fiji and looked at all the issues.  In this article the New Zealand Herald has likened the crisis in Fiji to that of Burma,  I wonder if the journalist is providing balance or looking for a good by-line.

Are you putting off a trip to Fiji?


The treason charges against 10 people arrested in Fiji have been dropped. Ten of 16 people arrested had been … More

This second article refers to the 200o Coup,  and asks us to reconsider travelling to Fiji as this may be seen as supporting an  unlawful Govt with poor human rights, although apparently encouraging trade with China is to be supported and encouraged.  

Tourism Fiji New Zealand Current Advertising Campaign

 Tourism Blackboard Website
May 2009

 While our News leaders advise not to travel to fiji our tourism industry leaders advise us there is no better time to go. 


Author: Dorothy de Lautour

Dorothy graduated with a degree in Design and Visual Arts (Contemporary Craft - Jewellery) at Unitec in Auckland, New Zealand. She was selected as an exhibitor for Objectspace's "Best in Show - 2012" and has exhibited in Wellington for NZ Academy of Fine Arts and in Auckland at Lopdell House.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s