21 May 2024

Artist behind new exhibition uncovers plight of Girmit women

From , 6:00 am on 21 May 2024
Indentured labourers in Fiji Photo: Fiji Girmit Foundation

Photo: Supplied / Fiji Girmit Foundation

A new art exhibition exploring the plight of Girmit women in Fiji has just launched in Wellington, New Zealand.

More than 60,000 Indians (called the Girmit people) were brought to Fiji by the British colonisers between 1879 to 1916 to work on the sugarcane, banana and rubber plantations. 

Porirua based artist, Seema Singh created a collection of paintings uncovering the lives of the Indian Women of the Girmit Era which involved slavery, murder and prostitution.

The free event runs until May 26th at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts Gallery on Queens Wharf.

RNZ Pacific's Eleisha Foon spoke with Mrs Singh about how researching her heritage led to the discovery of countless stories of Girmit women and the conditions they faced in this two-part series.