WHEN Waqa Vuidreketi first started producing his art, there were many unknowns before him.
Materials were expensive to come by, local markets for art were not established and in a world concerned with qualification and training, he had neither.
The only two things he was sure of were his passion for craft and his constant need to develop and not restrict himself to one medium of expression.
And after five years honing his technique at art shows in Fiji and around the region, the unassuming Lomanikoro, Rewa native will finally get a chance at his first solo show on Friday in Suva.
His opportunity has been made possible by the Fijians in Need Foundation, which put together Gallery Fiji by Julie Alexander.
As one of its focuses, the foundation — supported by Paralympian Iliesa Delana — encourages and facilitates avenues for Fijians such as Mr Vuidreketi to get into small business ventures.
The exhibition will open on Friday, July 25 from 5pm-7pm, and on Saturday, July 26 from 10am to 2pm at the 3rd Floor of Gurbachan Singh Building on Raojibhai Patel St in Suva.
In an interview with this newspaper, Mr Vuidreketi explained that he created art in mixed mediums using all manner of materials, from masi and paint to potato sacks and green leaves.
He has created 30 pieces of art for the show and hopes to sell them after the event.
Mr Vuidreketi said he used art to communicate the effects of climate change and sea level rise on the people of Rewa.
Mr Waqa knows the local market for artists is rather small so with an eye on the bigger picture, he wants the on-going campaign to support Fiji-made products to extend to the worldwide promotion of artists and their art.