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Waisiliva initiatives

Shayal Devi
Sunday, October 29, 2017

ARTISTS often have a unique way of seeing the world.

Most times, it is this viewpoint that is reflected in the work they do, in particular paintings and drawings.

And this month, a group of artists travelling on board the Uto ni Yalo have been able to reach out to a diverse group of communities.

One of them is Irami Buli, the founder of art group Waisiliva Gallery. The group has been ferrying works of art by a number of local artists in the first ever floating exhibition.

"When we did the first one (exhibition) in Australia, there was so much happening but we wanted to give back to the community, to give back to Fiji," he says.

"The Uto ni Yalo has also been of help travelling around the world sailing across thousands and thousands of miles so we began to plan out a structure."

He says while using an important international platform like the Uto ni Yalo, they had been able to see first-hand the issues faced by community and artists were also able to see the impact of art on the community.

"It is well-known as an iconic platform but we are now giving back to the community in Fiji. That is why we are sailing across the islands and the main thing is we preach about preservation and conservation of our ocean.

"We are here to also clean up the beach and we are trying to fight for no plastic in Fiji. These are the kind of initiatives we are trying to do because sustainable sea transport is really important, especially in Fiji.

"So we are not polluting the ocean with fuel and we are using solar and the wind. We are able to do what we are doing today to help protect the environment."

According to Mr Buli, this trip was also an opportunity for members of the public to witness artists and spread their message of conservation and environment protection through art.

"This is a great opportunity for artists as they are actually able to open their eyes and see what art can do for the community. It's not just about a beautiful work of art on the wall. It's about portraying something that is beautiful because the world is beautiful but it is us destroying it.

"We try to tell people: this is how beautiful the ocean is, why are we destroying it? Just recently we were at Sovi Bay and it was so full of rubbish. It made a difference when we took 20 minutes to pick the rubbish.

"Art is also a way of teaching the community to protect the ocean, not pollute it. Through our art, the way I see it, we need to keep Fiji beautiful.

"We need to act. We can preach anything but we need to keep our environment clean and beautiful."

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