(By JONE SALUSALU – FIJI SUN)
28 August, 2022
The Fiji correction service (FCS) last Friday farewelled their founding service provider and volunteer of the Tagimoucia Art Gallery, Jane Ricketts at their newly established Restaurant and Convention Centre in Naboro.
Ms Ricketts whose main contribution had been the development, enhancement progression on rehabilitative art class for inmates was acknowledged for her tireless contribution.
She said the Correction Service in any country was a crucial pillar of progress.
Ricketts departure stamps a record service with the FCS for 15 years, she was greatly involved in mentoring and teaching inmates about art.
She enjoyed her tenure whilst in Fiji, packaging a box of fond memories as she pens her retirement, Ricketts was the pioneer mentor for the ‘Tagimoucia Art Gallery’ under FCS.
“The then FCS commissioner, Iowane Naivalurua first introduced the Yellow Ribbon programe in 2008 which opened doors for rehabilitative alternatives such as art,” Ms Ricketts said.
“Students were so responsive, it was rewarding to me knowing that my art students were interested in doing what I love.”
In the relevance to her passion, she offered her service to Mr Naivalurua as a volunteer for the art class, to which her offer was accepted most eagerly and led to her long association with FCS.
“I had thoroughly enjoyed my time here (FCS), and I had a lot of support from the commissioners and other staff,” she said.
Mr Ricketts was instrumental in teaching inmates how to put paint to a canvas and produce works of art that have continued to the local art community.
She commended FCS, and projected her attributes to something that was often untold.
“I have great respect for the difficult task correction officers do, In the Fijian scene, too often the military is regarded as top rank, second to police then Corrections.”
“In my opinion it is totally the other way around, I think you (FCS) are the important ones because you have the power to change people’s lives for the better.”
Commissioner of Corrections Commander Francis Kean said the contribution of Ricketts in the last 15 years made an impact not only on the lives of inmates but also on the lives of officers she came into contact with.
“Mrs Ricketts showed us all and brought to reality the vision of the former Commissioner Major General Ioane Naivalurua that art is a powerful medium to help transform lives.
The FCS is now on the lookout for other interested volunteers to replace Ricketts as a service provider for the Gallery.
The Art gallery was established in 2008, the brain child of former Commissioner Major General Ioane Naivalurua, hence the name Tagimoucia – flower from his homeland.