Helo olgeta frens and wantoks from Melanesia and the rest of the World
It is an honour, as Chair of the Melanesian Arts Festival National Organising Committee (MACFNOC) for the 6th Melanesian Arts & Cultural Festival (MACFEST) to warmly welcome you to our shores for a unique experience in sharing and discovering of our diverse Melanesian cultures. Solomon Islands is very proud and profoundly honoured to be hosting this prestigious event from the 1st to 10th July 2018, and we hope that you will be part of this exciting event.
The theme of the 6th MACFEST “Past Recollections; Future Connections”, reinforces the significance of this festival as a time to reminisce on our history and cultures, whilst at the same time connecting ourselves as one people in diversity for a brighter connected future.
As the Chair for the 6th MACFEST, I am proud to say that this festival has extended beyond its borders and would like to announce that invitations are extended to our brothers and sisters in the Torres Strait Islands of Australia, the Papuan Region of Indonesia and the Timor Leste. The true spirit of this festival is Sharing in Unity, whereby through our recollections we are then connected together as we journey forth into the future.
It is the wish of my Committee that everyone planning to attend this festival will feel at home, warmly welcomed and gets connected in these 10 days of festivity. We hope that connectedness will contribute towards enabling us to gain new and deeper understanding with appreciation of one another’s cultures. Together we can face the future with greater courage and confidence to stand side-by-side. MACFNOC is working hard to ensure that MACFEST 2018 is successful and enjoyable for all of Melanesia, the Pacific region and the people of Solomon Islands.
We look forward to seeing you all then.
Chair – MACFNOC/ MACFEST 2018
The Melanesian Arts & Cultural Festival – A Brief Background
The Melanesian Arts & Cultural Festival was conceived in 1995 by the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). The Festival takes place every 4 years with a goal to promote traditional and contemporary arts from the whole of Melanesia. The festival brings together about 2000 artists and performers from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Solomon Islands. In 2014, the festival welcomed diaspora Melanesian communities in the Papuan provinces of Indonesia, Timor Leste and the Torres Strait Islanders of Australia into the festival. Below is a history timeline of the festivals hosted since 1998 with their associate themes. (http://macfest2018.com/about-festival/)
- 1998 – 1st MACFEST. Solomon Islands. Theme – “One People. Many Cultures”
- 2002 – 2nd MACFEST. Vanuatu. Theme – “Preserving Peace through Sharing of Cultures”
- 2006 – 3rd MACFEST. Fiji. Theme- “Living Cultures. Living Traditions”
- 2010 – 4th MACFEST. New Caledonia. Theme – “Our Identity Lies Ahead of Us”
- 2014 – 5th MACFEST. Papua New Guinea. Theme – “Celebrating Cultural Diversity”
- 2018 – 6th MACFEST. Solomon Islands. Theme – “Past Recollections, Future Connections”
In 2018, Solomon Islands is again restarting the festival cycle throughout the MSG countries with the Theme – “Past Recollections, Future Connections”. The festival will run from the 1st -10th July 2018.
Theme – “Past Recollections, Future Connections”
Solomon Islands hosted the first Melanesian Arts Festival in 1998 and again commencing on the second leg of the festival’s journey through Melanesia in 2018. The host believes that it is time to move beyond just celebrating and start embarking on a more prolific approach to the development of art and culture in Melanesia. The Theme “Past Recollections Future Connections” sets the stage for a new sense of direction to be taken in a connective manner whereby the past is linked to present status quos and future aspirations.
The 6th Melanesian Arts Festival wishes to take this time to pay tribute to our history and reminisces on the experiences of the epic journeys from the past to the present, and of which we celebrate and take pride in. This festival, as well as in previous, provides an avenue for reconnecting, reviving and renewing of commitments to our people and culture. It also reminds us of the challenges facing our traditions and cultures in the current era. Whilst we exercise resilience to cultural change and modification, we must ensure that authentic aspects of our cultures are preserved and maintained. Whilst we encourage and opt for more works of creativity and ingenuity, our traditional arts must not be forgotten as they are the foundations of our artistry. We believe our past influences the present, which in turn determines our course of destiny.
The Melanesian Arts Festival is growing and expanding beyond its borders over the past 20 years. In 2014 we welcomed our brothers and sisters from the Torres Strait Islands in Australia, the Papuan region of Indonesia, and Timor Leste to join us in this festivity, thus elevating the status of the Melanesian Arts Festival to one of complex diversity. This amalgamation of cultures in the festival is deemed as a magnificent opportunity for sharing and cooperation amongst the Melanesian neighbours on issues of concern such as Protection of Traditional Knowledge & Expressions of Culture, Cultural Heritage, Intellectual Property, Cultural Education, Cultural Industries and etc. The theme clearly prescribes the way forward to achieving resolutions to some of these issues through connectivity and sustainable partnership.
The 6th Melanesian Arts Festival will continue to remind us of this core responsibility of ensuring our culture and traditions live on beyond this century through the continual recollection of invaluable memories of the past and decisively connecting ourselves together as one people with a common purpose. As we reconnect with our past during this festivity, we also look forward to the continuation of our unity through ‘future connections’ as one people of Melanesia.