Kaila! News: Students learn skills at Fiji Museum

Students who attended the workshop at the Fiji Museum last month. Picture:SUPPLIED

SEVENTY students from around the Central and Eastern divisions were part of the students’ skills workshop on cultural practices at the Fiji Museum last month.

The four-day workshop gave students an opportunity to learn some basic iTaukei skills of weaving, pottery, visual artwork and masi making.

Fiji Museum director Sipiriano Nemani said the workshop was to provide the space for transmission of knowledge from older generation art practitioners to younger generation who were part of the workshop.

“All our art practitioners are well experienced and have a wide knowledge about different forms of art. What we wanted to do was create a space for young children to learn something new and perhaps continue with the traditions that we are known for in Fiji,” Mr Nemani said.

“This is an opportunity where these students foster something that they can take back to school after the school break. As you know Fiji has art programs in school and this needs to be fostered and enhanced by the Ministry of Education which is currently doing a good job in trying to get art into the school system.
“The most important thing is to facilitate cross culture learning. We have Fijians of Indian descent and students of other ethnicity who will get the chance to learn more about the indigenous or iTaukei art and culture in this school program.”

He said the museum hoped to introduce the program permanently and get more secondary school students to participate too.

Fiji Arts Council director Peni Cavuilagi said students learned how Fiji’s forefathers used to live and how they used their creativity to create something from their environment.

“Understanding the different cultures in Fiji and linking it to the different artifacts being displayed here at the Fiji Museum will give a sense of appreciation of other cultures existing in Fiji,” Mr Cavuilagi said.
“It will also give you an opportunity to learn new skills in art and craft development and the value they provide in enriching our lives.”

Samabula Primary School student and program participant Elijah Dumaru said it was the first time for him to learn the basics of weaving a mat and to weave one for himself.

“The first day it was a bit hard but then after I made some new friends during the program I felt comfortable to create my own mat and so I enjoyed the rest of the workshop days just weaving. Now I can take my mat home for my family to see,” Elijah said.

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