Tenth Festival of Pacific Arts – Host country for 12th festival to be selected
by Council of Pacific Arts
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Pago Pago, American Samoa, Wednesday 23 July 2008 – The Council of Pacific Arts, which oversees the promotion of culture in the Pacific including preparations for the Festival of Pacific Arts, is meeting this morning at the 10th Festival in American Samoa to select the host country for the 12th festival in 2016.
The meeting has been organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), which provides the secretariat for the council. (Solomon Islands will host the next festival in 2012.)
SPC’s Human Development Programme Manager, Ms Linda Petersen, says the festival is the region’s most important cultural event with all SPC member countries coming together to celebrate their customs and traditions. The event is also an important opportunity to consider the role that culture plays in shaping the future of the region and its people.
Speaking at the festival opening ceremony on Monday on behalf of SPC Director-General, Dr Jimmie Rodgers, Ms Petersen said cultural vitality is key to maintaining and enhancing quality of life. She said that, internationally, culture was increasingly recognised as an essential element of people’s well-being.
Ms Petersen also presented a carving to the Honourable Togiola T. Tulafono, Governor of American Samoa. The carving, which was specially commissioned for the festival, symbolises the festival theme, ‘Su’iga’ula a le Atuvasa’ – threading the Oceania ula).
Meanwhile, the festival is in full swing. Yesterday saw the opening of the festival village just opposite Utulei beach and all day thousands of people, including delighted passengers off a cruise ship that dropped anchor for the day in Pago Pago, thronged to the village where each delegation has a fale displaying its art.
Council of Pacific Arts
The Council of Pacific Arts comprises the twenty-two Pacific Island countries and territories that are members of SPC, with the addition of Hawaii, Easter Island and Norfolk Island, and the founding members, Australia and New Zealand.
Symbolism of SPC gift to Governor of American Samoa
A wooden carving was presented to the Honourable Togiola T. Tulafono, Governor of American Samoa, by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) on the occasion of the 10th Festival of Pacific Arts, 20 July to 2 August 2008, Pago Pago, American Samoa:
Artist: Jean-Michel Boene, New Caledonia
Materials: Houp wood (Montrouziera cauliflora), crushed glass and shells
The wood of the houp (Montrouziera cauliflora), a tree endemic to New Caledonia, is used to construct the central pillar of a grande case, a traditional Kanak chief’s house.
The carving was commissioned specially for the festival. Its symbolism is based on the festival logo and theme (‘Su’iga’ula a le Atuvasa’ – threading the Oceania ula).
The lower arch at the base of the carving represents the Polynesian canoe of the festival host. Above this, the canoes of the Melanesian and Micronesian visitors curve up on either side to form a second arch.
The short oblique lines above the floats represent the people journeying to the festival across the waters of Oceania – symbolised by the vertical waves encrusted with blue glass. Their intertwined stories rise on the ocean breeze and are carried to dry land on the wings of a sea bird.
When the visitors arrive at the festival, they are greeted by their hosts and presented with ula, symbolised by the wooden loop set with shells that crowns the carving.