05 October, 2006
3rd Melanesian Arts & Cultural Festival - Dancers rock the capital city
The city of Suva came to life on the second day of the 3rd Melanesian Arts & Cultural Festival with visiting delegations and locals converging at the Suva Foreshore and Sukuna Park for a glimpse of what the festival had to offer. Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu rocked Sukuna Park with impressive performances. With colourful feathers and grass skirts, the women from Papua New Guinea were definitely the crowd favourites. At the Lower Civic Centre, art lovers had a chance to see for themselves what Melanesian art is all about. From wood carvings, metal sculptures and drawings, the general public was treated to the best of Pacific art. However, one would not miss the festival logo, which depicts the mast of a sail of a Fijian canoe set against a globe sphere. Organisers said the logo represents the goal of reviving and preserving our culture and traditions in the face of globalisation. "The sail symbolises the linkages and the common heritage within the Melanesian group and it also represent our duty and determination as the current guardians of Melanesian arts, cultures, and traditions to ensure that as we navigate forward, propelled by winds of change, brought about by forces of globalisation, our heritage is sustained for the benefit of the future generations of Melanesia," organisers said. Viwa Islanders, near Bau Island, demonstrated the weaving of a "susu" or fish trap at the foreshore yesterday. The "susu" is made of "walai" (a type of vine) which is weaved in the shape of a basket with a little opening to allow fish in, however, it cannot escape once it is inside. The bigger the trap, the more fish that can be caught in it. The islanders usually use roasted sea cucumbers as bait inside the basket to attract fish. Macuata Province, from Fiji, had a very unique stall with "kuta" (a type of mat) of all sizes and shapes covering the walls and ceiling, showcasing what the Province is known for. The Melanesian Festival continues today with lunch hour performances from Fiji, Torres Islands and the Solomon Islands at Sukuna Park.