Eighty-Five to Represent Solomon Islands at Hawaii FestPAC

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AN eighty-five-member delegation of arts and cultural practitioners will represent Solomon Islands at the upcoming 13th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture (FestPAC) in Hawaii, United States of America next month.

This delegation included performing artists, visual artists, contemporary and modern music bands, weavers, carvers, culinary artists and officials.

Director of the Culture Division, Dennis Marita yesterday announced Solomon Islands participation, saying this year’s representation was smaller compared to past festivals due to financial constraints affecting government finances.

Director of Culture Division Dennis Marita addressing a Press Conference on the FestPAC. Photo credit @ OPMC Press

Marita said preparations have been tough in view of the tight funding aspect for the event but thanked the national government and the US government through SPC for funding the delegation.

“The bulk of the funding is geared towards traveling costs and US visas, which, the national government has made a commitment to through the Ministry of Culture and Tourism budget. The US government through SPC also supported the delegation by funding cost of US visas for the delegation,” Marita said.

Solomon Islands will participate in all aspects of the festival which runs from 6th – 16th June. This will include, performing arts, visual arts, heritage arts, music and dance, culinary arts, symposiums and conferences.

“We are looking forward to raise the Solomon Islands profile in Hawaii to inform and educate festival visitors, especially, US citizens about the country and the way of life of our people,” he said.

“This is a great opportunity for us to market our arts and culture as a tourism product to the outside world and our representation is important for our tourism industry,” Marita added.

Solomon Islands has been participating in the FestPAC since in inception in 1972.

The festival is the world’s largest celebration of indigenous Pacific Islanders. The South Pacific Commission (now The Pacific Community – SPC) launched this dynamic showcase of arts and culture in 1972 to halt the erosion of traditional practices through ongoing cultural exchange. It is a vibrant and culturally enriching event celebrating the unique traditions, artistry, and diverse cultures of the Pacific region. FestPAC serves as a platform for Pacific Island nations to showcase their rich heritage and artistic talents.

The roots of FestPAC trace back to the 1970s when Pacific Island nations commenced discussion on the need to preserve and promote their unique cultural identities. The hope was to create a space where Pacific Islanders could convene to share their traditional arts, crafts, music, dance, and oral traditions with the world. This initiative was driven by the desire to strengthen cultural bonds among Pacific Island communities and foster a greater understanding of their cultures.

The inaugural Festival of Pacific Art and Culture took place in 1972 in Suva, Fiji. Over the years, FestPAC has evolved and grown in stature, becoming a highly anticipated event for both Pacific Islanders and visitors from around the world. The festival has not only preserved traditional arts and culture but has also served as a platform for contemporary Pacific Island artists to express their creativity and address contemporary issues.

One of the festival’s most important objectives is to promote cultural exchange and understanding among the participating nations. It provides an opportunity for artists and cultural practitioners to learn from each other, share stories, and forge lasting connections. FestPAC serves as a reminder of the common heritage that binds Pacific Island nations and highlights the importance of preserving and celebrating their heritage.

Since its inception, FestPAC has been hosted by different Pacific Island nations on a rotational basis. Each host country takes on the responsibility of organizing and hosting the festival, providing a unique opportunity to showcase their own culture and hospitality. Host nations have all played a pivotal role in the festival’s success. They have worked tirelessly to create a welcoming and vibrant atmosphere for artists and visitors alike, ensuring that FestPAC remains a foundation of cultural exchange and celebration in the Pacific.

Solomon Islands hosted the festival in 2012.

Source: OPMC Press

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