New skills keep culture strong at Moa Arts

Workshops have always been an important part of Moa Arts’ creative program. They are a time when artists sit together to learn new skills and processes, share stories, reconnect and build stronger relationships. When COVID-19 hit we had to postpone our workshop program and focus instead on rebuilding our computer, management and organisational systems. While this was enormously beneficial for the organisation, it was not so great for artists wanting to develop their skills and creative output.

This year, we are making up for lost time with back to back creative workshops including fabric design, sewing, screen-printing, photoshop, porchoir printing and silversmithing, all of which have opened up a range of new creative opportunities. At the print press this means big, bold studies in colour and form and new directions for blending cultural knowledge with new media. At the jewellery bench it means higher value, higher quality adornments based on traditional mark making and plant and animal species. In the sewing room it means everyone is more confident to sew, dye and print their own clothing. We can also produce a range of fabric-based merchandise without having to send the manufacturing off the island. With skills in photoshop, we can develop our designs by manipulating the colour, scale and placement of design elements before settling on a final design.

These new skills are giving Mua’s artists new ways to shape their stories and keep their culture strong. It is this readiness to take on new ways of doing things, the willingness to innovate and experiment, along with the pride the artists take in their culture, their history and their visual traditions, that makes the creative economy of Zenadth Kes so rich and unique.

Main image credit: (Detail of) Paula Savage Getali (Crab) 1 of 5. 2021, Ink on paper. Image: Moa Arts

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IACA programs and events receive financial assistance from the Queensland Government through the Arts Queensland Backing Indigenous Arts initiative, from the Federal Government’s Ministry for the Arts through the Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support program, the Australia Council for the Arts and Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund - an Australian Government initiative. IACA supports the Indigenous Art Code.

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