The 12th Festival of Pacific Arts 2016

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(Photo: Manny Crisostomo)

As seen through the lens of Pultzer Prize winning Manny Crisostomo from Guam

The Festival of Pacific Arts is a major celebration of Pacific arts hosted every four years by a host Pacific nation. This year Guam has the pleasure of welcoming and playing host to guests of over twenty-seven island nations.

The Festival opened last week and will close at the end of this week. Guam has planned the event to cater for around 2,500 artists and an additional 10,000 visitors to Guam. 

Guam is showcasing the vibrant arts of numerous island countries including: American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Easter Island, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji Islands, French Polynesia, Guam (2016 Host), Hawaii, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna.

The Ministry of Education Sports and Culture selected the Samoan delegation.

Performers, dancers, carvers, tattooists, visual artists, crafts people, siapo makers, elei printers and others attended the festival and it is a wonderful opportunity for them to meet with artists from other islands, share skills and ideas and make and sell their works. 

The Samoa Arts Councils’ (SAC) Board works diligently to promote the arts in Samoa and promotes training and awareness of all arts in Samoa, regionally and internationally. Astonishingly no one on the S.A.C .Board was invited to attend the Festival.

One ticket was offered only when another individual pulled out and very much as the last minute. When looking at the line up of performances and Art forums and meetings, where S.A.C.

Board members could contribute effectively, this is a major oversight on the part of those selecting The S.A.C. Board has the academic and professional expertise but we are sidelined because the Government Ministries hold the purse strings and make the final decisions without foresight or accountability of the selection process. 

This weeks article will be a visual essay of the artists and countries involved. As the saying ‘goes a picture tells a thousand words.’ I will leave it to the photographs of Guam delegate and Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographer Manny Crisostomo to tell the story of very different worlds sharing their culture and art forms.

These stunning images in colour and black and white magically capture the essence and diversity of Pacific peoples the participants of the Pacific Arts Festival during performances, ceremonies and behind the scenes intimate images of individual and unnamed performers.

Next week I will examine the visual artists from Samoa and the region.

Dr. Vanya Taule’alo writes & edits the Observer Art Page for the Samoa Arts Council (SAC). Guided by SAC’s vision “to envisage a future where the Arts Sector is fully developed for the benefit of Samoa”, the page promotes all forms of art and promotes the arts in the Samoan community. For more information on SAC see samoaartscouncil.com and Samoa Arts




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