Jaki-ed weaving workshop, Majuro, Marshall Islands, September 2017 / Photograph: Christine Germano / Image courtesy: The artist and University of South Pacific, Majuro

Jaki-ed Project
Jaki‑ed or nieded mats 2017

On Display: GOMA, Gallery 3.5

Jaki‑ed or nieded mats are among the finest examples of weaving in Oceania. Made from pandanus fibres and woven solely by women, the mats were originally created as clothing. Conforming to sacred cultural principles, the mats are woven from the centre out; the centre carries no design in order to reflect the purity of heart and soul that must be at the core of any personal endeavour. Intricate geometric borders distinguish each weaver’s ancestry; like handwriting, a mat’s design can reveal an artist’s identity or their island of origin. Care is taken to ensure that each band of a mat’s border has no perceptible beginning or end, symbolising the endless and unbreakable bond that an individual has with their community and ancestry.

The mats featured in the Jaki‑ed Project were created as part of a workshop held in Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands, involving 13 expert weavers and performance artist Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner. The practice of jaki‑ed weaving almost disappeared when trade cloth was introduced to the Marshall Islands, but disruptions in shipments during World War Two prompted its revival. In 2011, an apprenticeship program supported weavers to learn the art form within the traditional weaving circle, a space where women exchange cultural knowledge.

Artists: Artina Clarence, Rosie Elmorey, Helmera Fandino, Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, Banithe Jesse, Roselee Jibon, Susan Jieta, Susanta Jieta, Mela Kattil, Airine Keju, Moje Kelen, Clantine Moladrik, Motdrik Paul, Terse Timothy

Contemporary context

How do the artists of the Jaki-ed Project:

  • provoke discussion about twenty-first-century issues and concerns?

Personal context

How do the artists of the Jaki-ed Project:

  • communicate influences on her life and experiences?
  • generate ideas from her own experiences, imagination or memories?
  • connect with the viewers’ experiences and/or expectations to construct meaning?

Cultural context

How do the artists of the Jaki-ed Project:

  • explore cultural traditions?
  • reflect community interests through social commentary?
  • respond to influences of art movements, styles and origins of time and place?

Formal context

How do the artists of the Jaki-ed Project:

  • employ specific art elements and principles to communicate meaning?
  • communicate intentions using symbols, motifs or signs?
  • enhance the interpretation of the artwork through processes, materials and media?
  • share characteristics with art movements, times, places or events?