Tuesday, 1 May 2012


The table on our porch has become a temporary art studio for visiting family friend and fellow Fiji artist, Alifereti Malai.  Based in Fiji's capital city, Suva, for many years now, Alifereti hails from Burelevu, a small village in the highlands of Ra, on the northern side of Viti Levu. Alifereti and my husband went to school together, where he was known for his amazing portraits, drawn in pencil at the back of exercise books!
Aliferti at work in our studio porch
 Alifereti has been a regular participant in many of the craft fairs and exhibitions we have organised over the past decade.  Until recently, his trademark product was fine drawings in black ink on white Fijian barkcloth, mostly of Fijian artifacts such as war clubs, cannibal forks, and whales teeth pendants. (Note the bookmarks Alifereti is designing in this photo.)  However, over the past couple of years, Alifereti has ventured into painting in oils and acrylics on canvas, using a broader colour spectrum and incorporating abstract elements alongside the cultural  references that are at the heart of this indigenous Fijian's creative work.  It has been fascinating watching this metamorphosis in the style and expressive quality of Alifereti's work!
Oils on canvas by Alifereti Malai exhibited at CreatiVITI's "Art on the Island V" exhibition in 2010
 Hand-drawn barkcloth maps of the Fiji Islands, full of incredible detail, are another line of work for Alifereti.  Below, my studio staff view his latest creation.  The framed map shown here has had pride of place on our studio wall for several years now...

  Alifereti Malai can be contacted by e-mail at alifereti.malai118@gmail.com,
or by mobile phone: (679) 963 7076

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