20 Jul 2012

Pacific artists' control key to developing creative economy

4:40 am on 20 July 2012

The creative arts manager at an Australia-based agency that helps Pacific Island countries increase their exports, investment and tourism industries says it is essential that the region's artists retain control of their output.

The comment was made during the recent 11th Festival of Pacific Arts in Solomon Islands after a forum on building the creative economy, of which discussion of how the work of Pacific artists has been appropriated and misinterpreted by Western marketers formed a large part.

Pacific Trade and Invest's Ruth Choulai, who is from Papua New Guinea, says her organisation serves a niche market, affirming where creators come from and who they are as it gives them the information they need to profit from their work.

"So I have in the pipeline probably about 10 creators that we're bringing through that process that allows them to say, No, actually I don't want it to go to national television, I only want it to be exhibited in x, y, z. So we're empowering them to make decisions about where they want to go and guiding them."

Ruth Choulai says creators' voices are key in bringing artistic work to an audience.