Australian-born Johanna Beasley has been coming to Fiji since 2000, and slowly fell in love with the country and all it had to offer. Moving here in 2003, she found work initially as a volunteer with disabled children. Later, she worked with the Fiji University and the International School in Nadi in arts departments.
In 2010, Johanna was offered the opportunity to work at USP, a goal of hers since moving to Fiji; she joined the Oceania Centre.
In her position as Visual Arts Coordinator, Johanna seeks to open up opportunities for artists all over Oceania, promoting painting but also bringing other creative forms, such as sculpture, carving and printmaking. These techniques allow artists to express themselves, but also to promote their work and earn incomes from their passion.
Johanna herself is an artist, and thoroughly enjoys creating in various media, from print making, to the use of wood as well as recycling materials to create new artwork from rubbish. Through art she teaches about climate change and recycling of rubbish to make for a cleaner environment. Due to her position at the university, she rarely has time to make her own art, but programs such as the Cli-mat project – including the trip to Beqa Island –allow her to express what Fijian culture and climate change mean to her.
Johanna would love to work with the disabled again in the future, creating art with them and developing techniques for working with the different parts of the community.
“Take a risk… Do the bold thing.”