The Islands Society names new group of artists for its annual Pacific NexGen Artists Program
The incredible diversity that exists in the Pacific region is rich with artistic talent which the Islands Society endeavours to support. Each year, emerging artists are provided a global platform to promote their work to audiences around the world through the NexGen Artists Program in order to foster greater international appreciation for artists as well as to provide artists the necessary support to succeed.
During the program, each artist will have a personal online gallery to showcase their work on the Islands Society’s website. The participants will also be provided the opportunity to share their insights on contemporary art from their respective countries through a series of articles and interviews. With visitors from over 90 countries in the past quarter, the Islands Society’s website provides a unique platform to promote emerging artists from the region.
More on each of the four artists can be found below:
Melissa Prokop (Tahiti) grew a passion for art while living in between France and Germany. Since her arrival in Tahiti, French Polynesia in 2003 however, Prokop has developed a talent for painting. As a profound admirer of the ancestral Polynesian culture which has spread all over the Pacific Ocean and survived in several forms, in spite of the ravages of colonisation. Her works pay tribute to the rich history of the native peoples of the Polynesian Triangle particularly Tahiti, Rapa Nui, New Zealand and Hawaii.
Lesley Wengembo (Papua New Guinea) is the youngest participant ever to join the NexGen Artists Program. At only 17yrs of age, Wengembo won second place in the Port Moresby Arts Exhibition in 2014 and was recognised with a merit award for the exhibition’s theme Meri (Woman) as PNG’s Youngest Artist. With coverage including the country’s biggest broadcaster EMTVOnline, Wengembo has attracted interest and cultivated exchanges through art as far as Germany through the Deutsche 1914 project. As a young leader in his community, Wengembo is a role model for other young artists in PNG who want to become ambassadors of their communities through art.
Simix Simeon (Vanuatu), born on the island of Matoso in Vanuatu is a chief of the Ohlen/Matas Village of Port Villa where he lives with his wife and two children. As an avid advocate of indigenous arts in his community, Simeon has led the creation of a successful art collective called ‘Awis Artis Blong Vanuatu’ which now has over ten artists. His artwork has been exhibited at several galleries in Australia including GOMA/Queensland Art Gallery, University of the Sunshine Coast Art Gallery and Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane who represents him. With a desire to find connections between traditional and contemporary art, Simeon works towards developing his own skills but is also known as a local leader promoting the international exposure of artists in Vanuatu.
Albert Joseph (Papua New Guinea) is a self taught artist from Mt. Hagen in the Western Highland Province of Papua New Guinea. As a self taught artist for over ten years, Joseph pursued a Diploma in Creative industries from University of Goroka and a BA in Art and Design at the University of Papua New Guinea to further develop his skills and passion for art. Having participated in various local and international exhibitions Joseph is an advocate for art as a critical means for preserving and promoting local cultures and customs in the face of globalisation.
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About the 2015-2016 Next Generation Artists Program
Through the Pacific Next Generation (NexGen) Artists Program, the Pacific Islands Society (PacSoc) provides talented young artists from regional island communities who are online members of the Pacific Islands Society with a global stage to showcase their talents. Pacific NexGen Artists will be given their own virtual gallery on the PacSoc website as well as marketing and communications support to create global awareness for their art works. They will also be provided the opportunity to publish articles and blog posts to build their brand.
About Islands Society
The Islands Society is an international 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Its mission is to inspire and empower islanders to participate in foreign affairs and overseas engagements in order to affect positive change in their local communities. The nonprofit develops and implements projects that are designed to help islanders realize their full potential on the world stage. These projects are currently organized around two main themes: community projects and next generation leaders. The community projects center on ten issue areas, including charity, conservation, democracy, disaster relief, education, equality, health, innovation, security, and sustainability. Meanwhile, the next generation leader projects support artists, athletes, chefs, incubators, musicians, policy makers, storytellers, and technologists. To implement these programs, the nonprofit has launched local constituent societies around the world. These include the Pacific Islands Society, Baltic Islands Society, Sea Islands Society, Arctic Islands Society, Caribbean Islands Society, and Remote Islands Society (Japan).