Art is a very powerful means of changing people’s lives.
These were the sentiments of Jane Ricketts one of the medal recipients for a Special Investiture Ceremony awarded by his Excellency the President Jioji Konusi Konrote earlier this month.
“I feel that art heals,” Mrs Ricketts said.
Often beginning her teaching with drawing classes she described the feeling of peace that this creative outlet brings to the offenders.
Speaking highly of her own art teacher, Jasper Shrills, she encouraged the importance of giving back to the community, saying “he ran classes and I went to those classes. I felt like I learned a lot from him, so I kind of pass on what I learned from him. It’s important to give back to the community what you’ve learned”.
The bestowing of awards was in recognition of service and achievement in various sectors across Fiji.
Other recipients included Mr Ikbal Jannif, who was recognised with the Companion of the Order of Fiji for eminent achievement and merit of the highest degree in service to Fiji or humanity at large.
Both Mr Hafizud Dean Khan and Commander Francis Bulewa Kean received the Officer of the Order of Fiji award for distinguished service of a high degree to Fiji or humanity at large. Major-General Ioane Naivalurua was awarded recognition of long and faithful service by senior officers to the Fiji Corrections Service with the Efficient Service Decoration.
Finally, Mrs Jane Ricketts received the Medal of the Order of Fiji for service worthy of particular recognition.
Mrs Ricketts described her gratitude for the award, stating she feels “very humbled to have received it.”
The Medal of the Order of Fiji was presented for her dedication to teaching art in Fijian prisons since 2008.
Story by: Matt Rudd