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Shadow lines and Silhouettes, Suva

I am drawn to black and white photographs, look at my twitter feed and it's filled with vintage pictures. I often ask myself 'Neis what is it about black and white pictures that speaks to you?'. I have no definitive answer, it's an age old picture that asks you to imagine a sky; was it pink, blue or was it sunrise or sunset, was the subject wearing a white shirt or blue? It's the mystery, it's the light and shadows.

Joseph Hing and I worked together during my consultancy with UNICEF Pacific and it was during this time that I witnessed his remarkable eye that caught many an image we used for online content. He's a seasoned veteran with 10 years of photography skills and he has now forayed into paints, pastels and ink.

A couple of months back he messaged me to say that he was finally holding his first exhibition and it was a black and white photography one that would feature my beloved Suva city.

Our art community in Fiji is small and in my humble opinion is struggling to find its feet and personally I think it's because we don't have a space to call home so when we have an exhibition it's like a pocket of art to relish. I digress, the exhibition is curated by Peter Sipeli for the University of the South Pacific's 50th Anniversary celebrations.

The Exhibition

When I walked into the USP Gallery, I saw Suva landmarks through Joseph's eyes. But it's not the flowery Fijian touristy images, it's Suva now in it's raw, fractured and current mood which despite socio economic woes we face, we carry on with everyday life. Joseph captures that imagery eloquently.

Standout Pieces

Candy Floss in the Sky - I think this particular piece resonated with me because my daughter and I did a lot of cloud watching at the park in Thurston Gardens. The image could be anywhere in the world, we are one under the same sky, clouds and sun.

Suva Market Traffic - How many times have I been stuck at the traffic light, a hundred or a million times. But as a driver, I never bothered to look at the bigger picture. I stood there and reflected the juxtaposition of this image, the old RB Patel and Burns Philip building beside the new Tappoo building with our choc-a-block traffic and the market vendors to the right under those glorious clouds. We move to the rhythm of life regardless of the curve balls our country throws at us and she's thrown some big ones.

I spy - 'Nostalgia' that's the emotion this picture evokes. As a teen of the 90's when prom season came around you made the trek to Lace Bazar (our version of Atlas) then walked through that alleyway to find a tailor or further down Raojibhai Patel street, this was our fashion district, the smell of sewage, incense and the ratty tin sound of a transistor radio is in my head as I look at that picture. My tailor an old indian lady would be sitting with piles of cut off material and plastic bags of finished pieces that only she knew which bag went to which customer. Joseph tells me he was at his tailor when he saw the light and stopped to take this picture. It's raw Suva, the same but different.

Masi on masi - Is there anything more beautiful than our Fijian tapa motifs on our traditional bark cloth, I saw this image a number of times through TEDx Suva but as I stood there and took it in, what I realised was it was our traditional masi being displayed by it's artist who was wearing the modern version of it. The image of traditional and contemporary.

Get in touch with Joe if you're interested in a piece, I will end this with a picture of one of the top 4 which has place of pride in my lounge. Suva my Suva, you're beautiful warts and all.



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