Solomon Islands arts and crafts fascinate FestPAC visitors

Photo: Solomon Islands Government Communications Unit

Solomon Islands traditional and contemporary arts and craft displays have captivated the hearts and curiosity of festival visitors heralding the originality, creativity and uniqueness of our arts industry.

Despite missing out the opening ceremony on Thursday 06 June due to tight flight movements, the Solomon Islands delegation, especially, our visual artists opened the Solomon Islands stall at the festival village on Saturday 08 June attracting hundreds of visitors throughout the day.

Visitors range from Art Collectors, Museum Owners, families and individuals varying from the old to the very young.

“Our carvings, shell products, mats, paintings, ornaments, decorations, fans and panpipes are the most attractive items that visitors are looking for,” said artist, Paul Ramosaea.

Ramosaea said the Solomon Islands stall was packed with visitors immediately after it was opened and continued throughout to the close of festival village on day one.

“As an artist, I felt very proud that our products have drawn huge interest from the visitors some who were surprised and curious to learn more about Solomons Arts and Crafts,” he said.

Festival Director, Dennis Marita conveyed his gratitude to the artists for making an impact on day one drawing a huge number of visitors to the Solomon Islands stall.

“I am proud of this event which helped to promote our arts and crafts to the outside world and I congratulate our visual artists for this splendid start,” Marita said.

The FestPAC trip cost SBD$3 million(US$359,000), partly funded by the Solomon Islands government and the U.S Government through the SPC.

“Around three-quarters of the cost (about SBD$2 million(US$239,000)) is solely for visa processing and travel arrangements to and from Hawai’i,” Marita explained.

Unlike previous years, this year’s festival selection focused mainly on Honiara-based participants, particularly registered groups with the Ministry.

The delegation includes performing artists, visual artists, contemporary and modern music bands, weavers, carvers, culinary artists, and officials.

Marita said the Solomon Islands’ participation this year is smaller compared to past festivals due to financial constraints.

“Preparations have been challenging given the tight funding aspect for the event,” Marita said.

“The bulk of the funding is directed towards travel costs and US visas, which the national government has committed to through the Ministry of Culture and Tourism budget. 

“The U.S government, through SPC, also supported the delegation by funding the cost of U.S visas for the delegation.”

Said Marita:“We are looking forward to raising the Solomon Islands’ profile in Hawai’i to inform and educate festival visitors, especially U.S citizens, about our country and the way of life of our people.

“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.

“Most importantly,” the event is an opportunity to share the message of the ‘Happy Isles’ with the world.”

The Festival will continue through out the week and conclude on 16 June. The Solomon Islands 85-member delegation participates in various aspects of the festival including, performing, visual and culinary arts, Oratory arts, weaving, carving, music and dance, filming, symposiums and meetings.