Friday, July 20, 2012

The Pacific Arts Festival

When we arrived in Honiara, last Sept., we were told that The Pacific Arts Festival was going to be held here in The Solomon Islands in July 2012.  The Festival has been held every 4 years on 11 different Pacific islands.  This is the first time for it to be held here, on the Solomon Islands.  We were so excited to have the opportunity of living here during this great event.  This festival is a really big deal here in the pacific.  It is like the Olympics. Many of the island nations send over a large group to demonstrate their native crafts and dances and stories.  We decided to attend the first activity on Monday July 2.  Our walking partner Judy Kirchner, told us that there would be many authentic, war canoes and  ancient native sailing boats coming into Honiara at 5:30am.  So we went down to the beach to see.  WOW!  was it worth the early morning effort!

First there were the fireworks from a barge on the ocean.

Then the native pan pipe band and dancers. 
These are only found in the Solomons Islands.

As day began to break, the boats started to approach the shore.

The re-created ancient boats used to travel from island to island in the pacific arrived first.  These have traveled all over the pacific even to San Francisco and now to the Solomons.

Then amazing war canoes that are from the Western Province of the Solomon Islands.
They raced up and down the beach multiple times for our entertainment.

As the native sailing vessels from each nation came into the shore, their people on the beach blew conch shells and horns to them, sang native songs and chants, and even performed the Hakka.

Those on the boats, responded by answering back.

As we were walking along the shore we heard someone saying, "I'm a member, I'm a member" and we met our new friend, Charleen.  She is a member of the Church who came with her native delegation from Samoa to perform at the festival.  Many members from different Pacific Islands attended our Church services on both Sundays.

The Solomon Island pikininis all loved the festivities, even this little "fireman".

What a fun morning as the Festival of the Pacific Arts began for the first time in the Solomon Islands.

The Festival was held July 1st to the14th and we were able to attend two different afternoon programs during that time.

Pan Pipers from the Solomons

There were lots of artists creating wood carvings.

Elder Mitchell and our five Solomon Island missionaries.

Here we are in the Solomons watching primitive native dancers, and one of them is on stage taking pictures with his Ipad.  Can someone please send this to Apple and see if we can get royalties for this picture?

Dancers from Ulawa, Elder Measi's home island.  (Elder Measi is our  district leader)

At the closing ceremony, the delegates from each Island Nation entered the Lawson Tama stadium and marched around the field.

As each delegation approached the grandstands, school children raised placards that created the flag of the island nation.

New Caledonia


As the closing ceremony progressed there was much dancing, gift giving, and unscheduled performances.  A great party was enjoyed by all as the different nations celebrated together.

A spectacular fireworks display signaled the end of the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts.  How glad we are to have been able to be here and participate in this gathering of the Island Nations.  Twenty Seven nations participated in this great cultural exchange.  This has been a great blessing for the Solomon Islanders to be involved in the festival, and will leave a lasting legacy for them to remember.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

OH wow! You really got some great shots! I wish I could have been there for the boats arriving! How beautiful!