In 2012, Chief Alex Dawia, Taa Lupumoiku Clan from the Siwai region of Bougainville invited Kate to chronicle medicinal plants in his region. His purpose was twofold; a positive recognition of Bougainville and preservation of cultural values, through exhibition and a book. In 2013, Dr Jeffrey Noro, founder and executive director of The Kainake Project (TKP), joined the medicinal plant project. The project has been guided by TKP, a grass roots organisation in Bougainville that focuses on the need for environmental conservation to be undertaken with community development for empowerment and sustainability.
The project acknowledges the communities’ desire for equilibrium between traditional and new knowledge systems, to allow both to thrive in an increasingly global society. The artwork considers new photographic modes for sensitively engaging with deep and living histories by aligning analogue and digital characteristics found within the image to knowledge and communication systems.
The exhibition for EMOP includes photographic prints, an embroidered fabric panel and the second book launch of Kuna Siuwai Pokong. The first book launch was held at Kainake Village (where the images were made) on 19 September. It coincided with the opening of a community resource centre and a week-long sports tournament.
The book is published by TKP with financial support from the UNDP through their UNDP-GEF Small Grants Program.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. The City of Boroondara has also provided support through their Individual Achievement Grant.