Pacific Scoop

Fiji Art Gallery & Centre Visioning Project Underway

Press Release – British Council

This initiative will boost Suvas cultural offer and will create new avenues for the young people of Fiji to become involved in the arts, said the High Commissioner for the UK, Her Excellency Melanie Hopkins.Fiji National Art Gallery and Centre Visioning Project Underway

“This initiative will boost Suva’s cultural offer and will create new avenues for the young people of Fiji to become involved in the arts,” said the High Commissioner for the UK, Her Excellency Melanie Hopkins.

“Next year, the British Government will host the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. We expect this to have a strong focus on youth and social cohesion. Culture can play an important role in these areas. Meanwhile, I am delighted that the Fijian Government is partnering with the British Council, who are a world-leader in cultural development. ”

Announcing the Fiji Arts inVision initiative in Suva today, the Honourable Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said:

“Fijian artists deserve a venue that showcases their work to their fellow Fijians and to the world and that celebrates the beauty of our shared identity, as Fijians, and the unique diversity of Fijian society. So we are very excited to partner with the British Council on this project and bring Suva a world-class art gallery to house the work of artists from Fiji, the Pacific and around the world. This gallery – this centre for the contemporary arts – will be hive of creativity in the heart of our capital and, once completed, the pride of every Fijian.”

The Attorney-General announced in the 2017-2018 National Budget that FJD500,000 had been allocated towards the gallery and centre, and the Fijian Government has contracted the British Council in New Zealand and the Pacific to see the project through to completion.

The Fiji Arts inVision initiative provides the foundation and first phase towards the establishment of a National Centre of Contemporary Arts in Fiji, contributing to a vision for a peaceful, inclusive and united society now and into the future.

“This is a major cultural initiative in Fiji that recognises the explosion of creative talent among Fijian contemporary artists in recent years and gives them a venue to showcase their work to the nation and the world,” said Director of the British Council in NZ and the Pacific, Ingrid Leary.

The Gallery and Centre will be a creative hub, where the best of contemporary art practice is recognised, celebrated, and shared with local and international visitors.

As opposed to traditional art in Fiji, contemporary art in Fiji has had little exposure. There has been no public gallery to showcase the work of contemporary artists and the establishment of the National Centre of Contemporary Arts will fill that void.

The Fiji Arts inVision foundation phase will be a scoping and visioning exercise, which include a technical assessment of the interior and exterior of the site. A vision and conceptual mapping of the gallery based on stakeholder expectations, strategic planning and business partnership and network building.

The main activities and expected results of the foundation phase of this project are:

1) Improved knowledge of the refurbishment needs, design and layout requirements to establish a contemporary art gallery at St. Stephen’s House based on assessment recommendations;

2) Approved strategy and way forward for the establishment of the National Gallery of Contemporary Arts based on findings from the vision and conceptual mapping gallery, stakeholder consultations and analysis of markets and opportunities;

3) Awareness and support from the public.

The visioning project will be complete next July, after which renovations to make the building fit for purpose will begin.

Fiji Arts inVision continues the revival and beautification of the Fijian capital by the Fijian Government that began with the restoration of the Grand Pacific Hotel, Albert Park and Government Buildings and is proposed to extend further along Victoria Parade towards the civic and commercial centre of Suva.

The St. Stephen’s building, which has been approved by Cabinet for the establishment of the National Arts Gallery and Centre, is a heritage building, situated on Suva’s main street between the Kings Wharf and Government Buildings, Albert Park and the Grand Pacific Hotel.

The British Council is a UK organisation charged with creating friendly knowledge and understanding between people of the world with people in the UK. With operations in more than 100 countries globally, it specialises in arts and culture and has strong arts networks in the UK and across the Commonwealth of Nations.

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