The Chairman of NCC Board and the Secretary to the NEC and Prime Minister’s Department Ambassador Ivan Pomaleu, Member of the Diplomatic Core, Distinguished Guest, ladies and Gentlemen and all the Fine Artists who are here tonight to officiate at the Second National Contemporary Arts Exhibitions. At this gesture, firstly allow me to convey to my people of Samarai-Murua my sincere appreciation, thank you for mandating me for the second term to the 11th National Parliament. I would also like to appreciate the Marape/Rosso Government for reappointing me as the Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture in this current government. I must say that the National Cultural Commission was the best performing agency for 2022 as announced by the Department of Personnel Management under the Executive management of Mr Steven Enomb Kilanda.
As the Minister responsible in the last Government and with my reappointment, I must express my appreciation once again to NCC for achieving this recognition that had promoted the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. Ladies and Gentlemen, the National Cultural Commission has an overarching mandate for maintaining, safeguarding, protecting, developing and promoting of PNG’s Arts and Culture. It is without prejudice to announce this evening as the Minister Responsible for Tourism, Arts and Culture that this current Government (Marape/Rosso) has delivered the first ever National Cultural Policy 2022-2032 after 47 years of being politically independent.
Ladies and Gentlemen this Government is walking the talk of “Taking Back PNG through Culture and Arts”. The National Cultural Policy 2022-2032 addresses failures of past governments. The protecting, safeguarding, developing and promoting of our cultural heritage is a constitutional mandate but these have taken a back seat over the years. Nevertheless, the policy addresses some perennial issues hindering the growth of culture and art sector in Papua New Guinea. In order to achieve the aims of the policy, the policy focuses on four main outcome areas and these are; 1. Production and Performance of Art and Culture. 2. Promoting and Marketing of Arts and Culture 3. Safeguarding and Transmission of Arts and Culture 4.
Governance and capacity building of Cultural Institution The first Policy outcome of the National Cultural Policy 2022-2032 is to continue to encourage our people to practice their culture festival, exhibitions, shows and other mediums. The second focus outcome area Promotion, Marketing of Arts and Culture provide the pathway for the development of the Cultural and Creative Industries by applying the Government’s agenda of developing the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector. This policy area addresses how best Papua New Guinea’s arts and culture can be promoted and marketed and create specific market for the sale of our art and cultural products.
The PNG Contemporary Art exhibition was domain for a very long time here in Papua New Guinea. It has been a long hassle for these street artists for many years to understand the mandate of NCC and how we could make it possible for them to have a fair economical share in their artistic creations. The National Contemporary Arts Exhibition is the way forward to address this long-standing issue and provide a conducive viable, attractive and marketable platform to promote and our market our fine artist locally and internationally. At the same time given the advancement of technological innovations have provided other important virtual spaces and market opportunities.
This evening, ladies and gentlemen, this Contemporary Art Exhibition is virtually online on a space known as Creative Hub. This was a partnership between the National Cultural Commission and Artech PNG. I extend my gratitude to Dr Philemon Yalamu for your state-of-the-art ability. The Online Database is virtual in the sense of archival information sharing, cultural knowledge and contemporary heritage. Linking all artists with their profile and their artwork online. That will certainly provide an added advantage for art collectors, museums, art lovers and collectors to appreciate all the Art work exhibited here. The formation of our Contemporary Heritage by Professor Ulli Beier and Georgina had enormous influence through the pre-and and post-independence and Nation Building projects. Engaging artists in projects such as parliament house, literature (Pocket Poems), Performing Arts and other architectural and public art as you may know.
That’s when the National Arts School was at its peak and without much if the University’s influence and governance. Timothy Akis was the first PNG Contemporary artist that exhibited at UPNG and that influenced Mathias Kauage to make history with contemporary art. Prior to Akis, the first ever PNG Contemporary Artists of Paua New Guinea were the patients from the Laloki hospital and Georgina exhibited their works in Europe and Africa before the completion of the UPNG structural site. Georgina Beier acknowledges them as the first ever PNG Contemporary Artists in the late 1960s in a book written by Melanie Eastburn called Papua New Guinea Prints. Yes, we hold history dear to our hearts but may have no room in government vision and using a political strategy that favours them and enables us to fully function for the betterment. Ladies and Gentlemen, as Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, I now take this opportunity to declare the 2nd National Arts Exhibition open. Thank you.