Pacific Arts Festival July 20 - August 2

This week kicks off the 10th Pacific Arts Festival, this year hosted by American Samoa. Twenty-seven countries are expected to participate in the festival, bringing their talents, tastes, and tales to Pago Pago in American Samoa.

Pacific Arts Festival.jpg
The Pacific Arts Festival began in 1972 and is held every four years in a different host country. Previous host countries have been Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, French Polynesia, Australia, Cook Islands, Samoa, New Caledonia, and Palau. The festival includes workshops as well as performances and allows each participant country to share and learn from each other. Indeed, the theme of the festival is Su'iga'ula a le Atuvasa: Threading the Oceania 'Ula'.  Ula is the Samoan equivalent of lei and according to American Samoa's Governor, Togiola T. A. Tulafono, the theme represents the "coming together of Pacific people to share their values, traditions, and spirit on the soils of Samoa."

Siva Afi.jpgThe list of events for the two-week celebration of Pacific arts is incredibly inviting: traditional arts, contemporary arts, culinary arts - not to mention fascinating topics like traditional healing arts and navigation and canoeing. Of course, the biggest draw for me would be performing arts. I would love to watch the dancing from all 27 nations. When I studied abroad in Samoa, I wrote my independent studies project about traditional dance and music and the perpetuation of culture through the arts. And as a former Polynesian dancer, I could watch the Hula Kahiko (traditional Hula) and Siva 'Afi (Samoan fire-knife dance, at right) for hours.

Seacology has an astounding 78 projects in Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia combined. I am proud that we are helping those nations most in need. In fact, four of the Pacific countries in which we work are classified by the United Nations as Least Developed Countries: Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

These Pacific nations are very important to me, both personally and professionally. Being so isolated in the Pacific Ocean, it is wonderful to see this gathering at the Pacific Arts Festival. If only we at Seacology could join the fun!


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This page contains a single entry by Ellen Kamoe published on July 21, 2008 9:00 AM.

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