Thursday, 26 January 2012


This has been the week of THE FLOOD!  It rained all Sunday night, and by morning the power was cut, and our road was submerged under a meter of water at the lowest places.  The Nadi River, just a cane field or two away from our neighborhood,  had broken its banks, and brown, swirling water was backing up through large areas of the river plain, causing havoc in countless homes and farmsteads,  and surging through the shopping precinct of Nadi Town.  Our home is on a small rise; thankfully the water did not get as far as our yard.  But it rained almost non-stop for the next two days, turning several areas of Fiji's main island into national disaster zones. Many families around us have lost the contents of their home and the crops in their fields.

Here are a few photos taken in our neighbourhood during the three-day flood:

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Rainy Season In Fiji

It's high summer here in Fiji, which means RAIN - lots of it!  Here in western Viti Levu, rainy season days usually start off with brilliant sunshine.  As the sun climbs higher in the sky, temperatures and humidity levels rise.  By mid afternoon, huge thunderclouds are towering overhead.  The storms roll in fast, with cracking lightning and blinding sheets of rain that quickly flood our road with several inches of water.  A couple of hours later, the skies clear up; the air temporarily cooled. Sunsets this time of year are especially colorful, often accompanied by a double rainbow arching over the mountains to our east.

Two storms converging over Nadi Bay
I took this photo while on a boat crossing from Bounty Island to Vuda Point, earlier this week.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Barkcloth Art for New Zealand Exhibition

Three of my barkcloth paintings have been selected for the Natural Fibres Innovation Exhibition which will be held at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand during the last week of this month.  Here is a sneak preview of one of them, just completed last week:

"Red Palm Grove"
Acrylics on Traditional Fijan Barkcloth
Size: 60 x 60 cm (inclusive of barkcloth-covered mount)

Also selected was "The Sigidrigi Mat" which I painted late last year:

This piece, executed in acrylics and pigment pen on a piece of beautiful white masi,  measures 66 x 66 cm (painted barkcloth mount included).  Used for ceremonial purposes as well as for eating, sleeping and sitting on, hand-woven pandanus mats that are central to life in every Fijian household.  A gathering of friends and neighbours on a mat of an evening may give rise to a spontaneous “sigidrigi” or informal folk singing session, accompanied by ukuleles and guitars.  Between the songs, stories are told and ideas discussed. This painting celebrates the creative spirit of such occasions.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Fresh Fruit Day

Three of the banana trees in our garden are bearing fruit at the moment.  One of the bunches was ripe enough to pick today - if we'd left it out much longer, the bulbul birds would have hollowed out all the fruit!  The green bananas that are not ripe enough to eat will remain on the thick stem.  This will be wrapped in a sack and hung from the rafters of our porch, so the fruit can ripen in its own time, away from the bats and the bulbuls...

Yet more fresh fruit came our way today:  our neighbour handed us bag of huge avocados he had just picked from the tree in his yard!  One of my favourite tropical fruits - I love eating them with a little lemon juice, salt, and pepper - or tossing chunks of avocado into a garden salad!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Greeting Cards

Getting our first order of the year out today - 50 greeting cards featuring small hand-painted designs on barkcloth.  We use a thick metallic gold paint to draw in the details - once it hardens, the artwork has a nice texture to it.  Today's designs include frangipanis, ocean waves, and palm leaves.

Fiji Time

For some great observations about the phenomenon known as "FIJI TIME", and other interesting experiences a foreigner attempting to live and work in Fiji may have, enjoy this New York Times article by coral reef researcher Mark Hay, reprinted last week in our local newspaper....

Drinking Kava on Fiji Time