Jaki-ed book launched

Authors Dr. Irene Taafaki and Maria Fowler with copies of the book at the publication’s launch Wednesday this week. Photo: Karen Earnshaw.

KAREN EARNSHAW

Maria Fowler opened her remarks to the crowd at the College of the Marshall Islands with the words: “You are all beautiful rainbows as I look at you” and then went on to describe the various parts of a jaki-ed also known as a finely woven clothing mats. Her words were part of the launch of the translation of the book Clothing Mats of the Marshall Islands: The History, the Culture and the Weavers: Nuknuk Nieded in Aelon in Majel: Bwebwenato Akko, Manit eo, Im Ri-Aj Ro.

The authors are Maria and college president Dr. Irene Taafaki, who collaborated on a revival of the art of making jaki-ed, beginning in about 2006. This project included hugely popular auctions of jaki-ed, which were held at the Marshall Islands Resort over the years.

Education Minister Kitlang Kabua was unable to attend the Wednesday morning event, so Dean of Academic Affairs Va Savu read her welcome remarks which included how “this book will inspire a new generation of weavers.”

Two hundred books will be printed for distribution to schools and communities in the Marshall Islands.

Va recognized translators Sallyann Alik and Marson Ralpho and myself for doing the design of both the books.

Expert weaver Susan Jieta, who is CMI’s resident weaver, is soon to begin a weaving circle at the college. This program was moved from the University of the Pacific Campus with the blessing of its Director Dr. Brad Carte.

The translation of the Clothing Mats book was made possible by financial support from the RMI National Commission for UNESCO.

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