In this workshop, yumi stori, lainim, na mekim basket wantem – together, we will story, learn with basket, and learn to mekim basket.
Mekim basket, the PNG Tok Pisin phrase for make a basket, is a ubiquitous activity throughout the world and the Pacific. Whether it is making baskets at home for a special occasion, weaving at the market for sale, occupying time while waiting, filling in the evenings, mekim basket are an important part of life and baskets carry symbolic cultural, social, economic, and political value.
For many people, education, employment or migration in the contemporary world has meant they have not had the opportunity to learn this skill or they have lost it, leaving it behind at home or in their past. For some, the realisation of loss leads to a desire to rediscover this skill. In this workshop, yumi stori, lainim, na mekim basket wantem – together, let’s story, learn with basket, and learn to mekim basket.
Participants are welcome to share their stories tok stori about their own hand made traditional basket, whether it is from the Pacific or from another part of the world. Is it a precious gift from a special person? Did you make it yourself? Did you buy it at a Pacific market or roadside stall? Is it an inherited heirloom or a second hand find? Acknowledging that some of us may have a desire to rediscover the endangered practice of mekim basket, we will also begin to learn the practice of mekim basket with a focus on how to begin a Manus, Papua New Guinea basket.
Dr Nayahamui Rooney, is a lecturer and researcher at CHL. While visiting Manus home in 2019 she learned the practice of mekim basket from her sister and other family members. She has since found much joy and reflection in the process of mekim basket and draws inspiration from it to guide her research and pedagogic practice.
Playing on the Nali, Manus word for basket, n’drop, Nayahamui is currently working on a book project titled “N’drop in Oceania” which plays with the reality of being a mere drop in the ocean while finding empowerment and well-being in mekim basket as a safe space to drop in, drop thoughts, drop everything and simply be. The book is a compilation of her not-quite-aesthetic, not-quite-poetic pieces written over 10 years through senses of improvisation, intentionality and multiple and changing positionalities in her research and pedagogic practice in the “Pacific scholarship” space.