Gina Dehinavanua and young artists from PVIS, Epauto and APTC exhibit their portraits of inspiring ni-Vanuat

Community art thrives in Vanuatu, with artists young and old from across the country collaborating to produce portraits of people who have inspired Vanuatu over the last 40 years of Independence.

Exhibited as part of the Alliance Francaise’s “40” exhibition that opened in Port Vila on 20 July, the Taf tumas! artistic portraits reflect a range of techniques using paints, pencil and digital media.

The portraits are also published in a first-ever book for children about 40 inspiring and diverse ni-Vanuatu who have shaped our young country: Taf tumas! Different journeys, one people.  The book will be launched on 24 July as part of the National Children’s Day program.

Young and professional artists alike have collaborated from Vila to Santo, including ni-Vanuatu residing in New Zealand.  “We made a call out for artists on social media, and were overwhelmed by the community support,” says Gina Dehinavanua, the Taf tumas! artwork coordinator.

Over twenty artists alone are school children. “Taf tumas is a book for children and so having children draw the artwork makes this a true community collaboration,” says Ms Dehinavanua.

Art students from Year 9 and 10 at PVIS School provided the majority of the artwork, as well as international ni-Vanuatu illustrator Andrew Bunyan. Emerging artists Chad Napwatt, Wycliff Shem, Elaine Moli and Apeth Bule from Epauto Secondary School also created portraits of celebrated ni-Vanuatu such as Grace Mera Molisa, Donald Kalpokas and Doreen Leona.

The exhibition runs throughout the 40th Independence Anniversary celebrations.

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