Cook Islands Artist Selected For UNESCO's International Women’s Day Exhibition

Office of the Prime Minister
Rarotonga, Cook Islands

March 6, 2017

The work of NiaVal Ngaro, currently on show at the Bergman Gallery in Avarua, has been accepted for showing in the 2017 International Women’s Day Exhibition at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France.

Ngaro is one of only two artists from the Asia Pacific region to be selected to take part in the exhibition.

The piece for show will come from her new series of glass “taro” sculptures.

Says NiaVal: “My new works and passion with glass have been motivated from a vision I so vividly remember 13 years ago: a woman working vigorously in the taro plantation, planting, cultivating, harvesting and finally seeing the fruits of her labour.”

The glass sculptures themselves are shaped for the plant that they represent, showing specific stages of growth, characterised by colour and form.

The Cook Islands National Commission for UNESCO is working with other partners to ensure the safe transit of the work to Paris in time for the exhibition.

“The National Commission is extremely excited for the work of a Cook Islands’ woman to be recognised in this way,” says Gail Townsend, commission secretary general.

“It demonstrates, once again, our ability to work with and contribute to the international agenda of UNESCO as a member state.”

Recognising the changing world of women and the way in which their knowledge and talents are acknowledged and celebrated is a focus of the International Women’s Day celebrations for the Cook Islands being coordinated by the Internal Affairs ministry.

Secretary Bredina Drollet also noted the news, saying: “Seeing the work of Cook Islands’ women celebrated on the international stage adds strength to our message about the opportunities for, and contribution of, women to our society.”

As chairman of the National Commission for UNESCO, prime minister Henry Puna added: “It is so rewarding to see the talent displayed by our Cook Islands’ people and the work of Ms Ngaro. She exemplifies the Cook Islands’ spirit and that there are no limits to what we can do - and especially for our women.

“That this work will be showcased in Paris speaks of the quality of the artwork produced and her success is built upon our core values of hard work and family.

We congratulate her and her family and say akamaroioi, with the admiration of this government and the pride of the people of the Cook Islands.”

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