THE Government has been urged to recognise the important role of artists and craftspeople in promoting the country overseas.
The call came from Heso Kiwi, an artist from Hongo village in Morobe province.
Born in 1963 Mr Kiwi completed his primary education at Kalalo community school in 1975, and then attended Siassi High School.
His talent was noticed by the Expressive Arts teacher who encouraged him to pursue studies in arts.
In 1980, he won a scholarship to the National Arts School (today Institute of Applied Arts & Communication at UPNG) graduating in 1986.
Even though comfortable in school, he was conscious of the directions Fine Arts would lead him with no marketing facilities around. The chances were slim for a job (in fact fine artists work for themselves) but there were opportunities in commercial arts so on completing fine arts he continued on to do graphics arts.
“It is sad though today for the fine artists in Papua New Guinea who struggles to survive” he said.
Kiwi lives and works in Port Moresby and has participated in arts and craft shows in the last 15 years. Many of his works are sought by private collectors.
Although he has a full time job, he always makes time to draw, preferring watercolor for its soft and subtle effects.He was one of the participants to the “Luksave Arts Exhibition”, a major annual event and his work, (The pen Drawings) won the “Peoples Choice Award” at The Goroka Coffee Festival Arts Award in 2008.
Kiwi is proud of his cultural heritage and strives to show the world aspects of rural life through his art work.
In 2004 he developed a technique of pen drawings.
It was at the popular Ela Beach craft market that he realized that his drawings were all sold out faster than usual.
The tourists who came to the market were fascinated with his new style of drawing.
Close Australian friends dubbed him, the squiggle drawer because of the technique he developed.
While Kiwi has not exhibited his work abroad, some of his art work has found their way into international private collections.
He has secured a three-year contract with Witzig Gallery in Australia where his drawings are bought, printed and sold.
Witzig Gallery owned by Paul and Marianne Witzig specialises in Papua New Guinea contemporary art. These unique paintings, both traditional and imaginery show the way in which Papua New Guinean artists respond to their contemporary world.
The Witzig’s have an on-going commitment to improving the wellbeing of PNG communities. Witzig Gallery contributes 5% of proceeds to PNG health and education projects throughout PNG, these projects consist of various community development planning and architectural services which are donated by Paul and Marianne. This process enables projects to get off the ground and obtain aid donor funding. Local communities then have an opportunity to build and improve their skills in various projects.
Witzig Gallery also collects medical equipment donated by Australian hospitals which they transport to PNG to various clinics and hospitals. Education projects include elementary schools and primary education strategic plans, including donations of various items for schools.
Kiwi acknowledges all the people who helped him develop his art career.
His drawings were recently displayed at the National Library in Waigani at an exhibition commemorating 40 years of literature in PNG
Kiwi is appealing to the National Government and its agencies to recognize the work of fine artists as they are portraying some of the country’s ancestor’s traditions.
He has also urged that a Gallery be built for the exhibition and trading of artworks.