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Telling A Story On Canvas, The Journey Of An Artist

“Art is not about how you can portray a perfect picture. For me, it is more of a self-portrait of what you do not know. The more I dwell within me the more curious I become about the millions of things I do not know about myself."
29 Sep 2022 04:00
Telling A Story On Canvas, The Journey Of An Artist
Irami Buli standing next to his canvas titled “Vueta” at the Oceania Gallery in USP, Suva. Photo: Viliame Tawanakoro

Art is a topic that is no stranger in the Pacific, where our culture, religion and the journey of our ancestors are told.

But as time goes by, the inspiration in art has drawn no boundaries in this modern-day era, where every inspired collection is destined to take viewers on a journey, leaving them with an awe-inspiring experience to remember.

Learning how to tell a story on canvas can be a daunting skill to master for any artist. For Lomaiviti native, Irami Buli, each of his paintings are a reflection of rich and diverse cultural heritage, each with its own story, depicted through the rich colours of nature, people and the environment.

“Art is not about how you can portray a perfect picture. For me, it is more of a self-portrait of what you do not know. The more I dwell within me the more curious I become about the millions of things I do not know about myself ”.

 

This iTaukei self-taught artist was born in 1983 and has been painting for more than 20 years. His perseverance and determination to grow and become a top artist in Fiji and the Pacific has seen him travel extensively on an international level to showcase and exhibit his works.

“In 2001 I joined the Red Wave Artist Collective under the leadership of the first director of the USP Oceania Centre, Professor Epeli Hau’ofa”

“It was during those early years at the Centre that I began to develop as an artist and under the mentorship of the late Professor Hau’ofa I began to gain the confidence and experience that has made me the artist I am today,” he said

Upon leaving the Oceania Centre, Irami, like many of the Red Wave artists continued to paint and work hard to establish themselves as an artist. This was the only source of income for many of them and Irami knew that to survive he had to keep painting.

 

International Acclaim

Irami was the first local artist to exhibit in China and attained international recognition from the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) for his contribution.

His works can be found in private collections locally and abroad and in several art museums and galleries in Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and beyond.

He has also participated in numerous exhibitions in Fiji and around the world, including India, Tahiti, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, China, Papua New Guinea, Bali and even Ukraine.

Irami is one of the founding members of the Viti Association of Visual Arts (VAVA). He currently serves as the Chairperson of VAVA. Through VAVA he is working to raise awareness and bring more attention and recognition to artists in Fiji but also to the visual arts in Fiji as an important part of the cultural industry.

 

Nurture Creativity

“My advice to parents is if you observe your child or anyone in your family being creative try to encourage them’

“Sometimes it’s just not about the academic side of things, but it’s also about the creative potential within us that can create a positive ripple in this world and if you can encourage our young kids it will develop them both emotionally and psychologically,” he said.

 

Feedback: viliame@fijisun.com.fj



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