Artists pay tribute to Laddpeter

EXUBERANT, unrestrained and splashed beyond the borders of accepted norms and taboo, the intricate messages of local artists are due to captivate the audience when they go on display at the Breathe exhibition this weekend.

It will be a rare grouping of Fiji’s gifted melting pot of artisans and crafts people who come from a sector still considered a minority.

And more touchingly, it is part of a tribute to fellow comrade Meli Laddpeter, who successfully made a career out of his paintbrush, but now lingers on a bed at the Nadi Hospital, fighting bronchitis.

“It is my hope that this exhibition will be of a great blessing to Meli and his family,” said Joe Bilbu, a Papua New Guinea-born artist based in Fiji.

In an emotive message to Mr Laddpeter who has eight children, he reiterated the solidarity of Fiji’s small but close-knit art community.

“You are not alone. Pain feels less painful when someone is feeling the pain with you. Your pain has made you beautiful because I know that when we worked together, you carried your pain to work with a smile on your face, wanting to pretend that your situation was not there. You are a real person trying to do all you can to put food on the table for the people you loved the most, and we artists want to carry that responsibility for your family.”

The exhibition opens doors with attractive raffle prizes at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa tomorrow evening, and closes next week Tuesday.

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