PREPARATIONS toward Solomon Islands’ participation at the 5th Melanesian Festival of Arts and Culture in Papua New Guinea are well underway.
The 5th Melanesian Festival of Arts and Culture begins on 28th June in Port Moresby and will run for two weeks ending on July 11.
Participating artists and cultural groups from nominated provinces have begun arriving in Honiara since the beginning of this month.
Deputy Director of the Culture Division of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Dennis Marita said provincial groups have now arrived in Honiara and will be going through travel briefings and rehearsals in the next nine days prior to their departure to Port Moresby on June 26.
The Government is sending a contingent of 168 participants who will take part in various activities including Artistic Demonstrations and Exhibitions, Literary and Performing Arts, Traditional and Contemporary Dance and Music and Theatre Arts.
Mr Marita said cultural groups and individual artists have been selected from all over Solomon Islands to represent the cultural diversity of the country.
“Solomon Islands is one of the culturally diverse countries in Melanesia and we are proud to showcase and share our diversity and uniqueness with our other fellow Melanesians during the festival,” Mr Marita said.
He added that Solomon Islands is now becoming one of the recognized culturally diverse place in the world after successfully hosting the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts in 2012.
“It is important that we use this success as a springboard to further promote the country and at the same time preserve our cultural practices and values by transferring them to our younger generations,”
Papua New Guinea was nominated to host the Festival during the 4th Melanesian Festival of Arts and Culture in New Caledonia in 2010 by leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG)
The festival is hosted every four years by selected member countries of the Melanesia Spearhead Group (MSG).
The MSG is made up of New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
For this festival, Papua New Guinea has extended invitations to Melanesian communities from the Torres Strait Islands, West Papua and Timor-Leste.
The theme of the festival is “Celebrating Cultural Diversity”, which highlights not only the diversity of the Melanesian cultural heritage but also that of the nation of Papua New Guinea – the largest and most diverse of all Melanesian States.
First hosted by the Solomon Islands in 1998, the Melanesian Festival of Arts and Culture gradually developed into an important event for preserving, protecting and promoting Melanesian Cultures.
Melanesian culture is very distinct and diverse and is spread out across nations, provinces and communities in the Pacific region.