Nawita Contemporary Arts Association
1987, several ni-Vanuatu artists met in Port Vila to discuss the establishment
of a formal organisation of contemporary artists. Prior to this, almost
all contemporary art in Vanuatu was created by 'foreigners', exemplified
by the work Nicholai Michoutouchkine and Robert Tatin. The meeting was attended
by the ni-Vanuatu who had been trained in art at INTV (the technical training
college in Port Vila) during the brief period when it was offered as a course,
or had an active interest in creating 'contemporary arts' out of their more
traditional skills in artefact production. Following a suggestion of Juliette
Pita's they decided that the organisation be named 'Nawita', the Bislama
term for 'octopus'. Each tentacle represents a different artistic medium
or form of expression, highlighting the diverse talents of the group, united
in a single association .
The Nawita Association of Contemporary Artists was officially established in 1989 with sculptor Emmanual Watt as President and Sero Kuautonga, painter, as Vice-President. The association affirms a free membership open to expatriates and ni-Vanuatu alike, the primary condition being that the association must hold a yearly exhibition. The first showing of the association was held in the gallery space of the French Embassy in 1989 which has remained the venue ever since. During the year 2000, Nawita was involved in several wide ranging projects ranging from participation in the 6th Festival of Pacific Arts, the 8th Pacific Arts Association meeting, a calendar of women artists from around the world, and an international Francophone exhibition in Canada, as well as the development of several workshops and projects within Vanuatu. As such, the association straddles various local, national and international fora for contemporary arts.
Group of Nawita artists with works specially commissioned for the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
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