13 October, 2006

A National Arts Festival suggested for Fiji

The 3rd Melanesian Arts & Cultural Festival has come to an end in Suva. The Festival ended on Wednesday, 11 October 2006, with a finale closing ceremony at the Post Fiji Stadium at Laucala Bay in Suva. We provide below a copy of a letter to the Editor of the Fiji Times which was published in today's paper. Here it is :
  • "The recent Melanesian Arts Festival brought out the best of Melanesia through performances, displays and exhibitions. Now that it's over, Fiji should consider having one of its own - a national arts festival. This will be an excellent way to protect and preserve the unique identities and ways of life of the peoples of this nation. Sadly, an increasing number of young cannot even speak their mother tongue fluently or have limited knowledge of basic aspects of their culture. A national arts festival will have additional benefits, such as promoting improved understanding of cultural values and indirectly, promote unity among members of society. The festival could raise awareness of the different lifestyles throughout Fiji, including those in coastal areas, rural areas and outer islands. If planned and executed properly, the festival could be a tourist attraction in future. There should be no reason why Fiji cannot host a national arts festival. The planning and expense involved should not be a deterrent because our cultures are priceless. More so, it ensures our future generations will be well informed of their identities and are good ambassadors." Floyd Robin Robinson, Hamilton, New Zealand.

Well ....... we could not agree more. Let us hope that the Fiji Government's Ministries of Fijian Affairs and Multi-Ethnic Affairs take this suggestion up. The Festival provided a background for the various ethnic groups to come together at the related celebrations for Fiji's Independence Day - something which has not been seen since the 1970s and early 1980s when multiracialism was alive and well in Fiji. Let's look forward to a national arts festival from 2007.

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