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  • What's New in Oceania

Festival of Pacific Arts in Guam 2016


The 12th Festival of Pacific Arts (FOPA) is to be held in Guam from May 22 – June 4, 2016. The festival, which has been held every four years since 1972, brings together artists and cultural practitioners from around the Pacific region for two weeks of festivities. Recognized as a major regional cultural event, it is the largest gathering in which Pacific peoples unite to enhance their respect and appreciation of one another.

Delegations from 27 Pacific Island nations and territories will come together to share and exchange their cultures. Over 2,500 performers, artists and cultural practitioners are expected from American Sāmoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Hawai'i, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Island, Rapa Nui, Sāmoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Futuna, in addition to festival participants and visitors from other nations.

Guam made the bid to host the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts and was awarded this distinction at the 10th Festival held in American Sāmoa in 2008. The 2016 festival will be an opportunity for Guam to showcase its unique Chamorro culture that has survived colonization of the past and modernization of the present.

Pacific Arts Association XII International Symposium, Auckland 2016


The Pacific Arts Association XII International Symposium will take place in Auckland, New Zealand, from March 14-17, 2016. The theme is Ma te ahuatanga o mua, E arataki te huarahi, Hei haere whakamua ~ By the lessons of the past, we are guided into the future. The symposium will span four days and multiple venues for a lively cultural exchange. It will be hosted by the Auckland Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira in partnership with Ngati Whatua o Orakei, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board, and The University of Auckland.

The overarching theme, expressed by the whakatauki (Maori proverb) above, is to look to the past to inform the way we move into the future, acknowledging those who came before and the lessons learned. It further acknowledges the roots of Maori culture embedded in Oceania and pays tribute to a shared ancestry and history that has the shaped dynamic relationships of exploration, encounter and exchange.

Sub-themes for the symposium are:

Mana Moana, focusing on the connecting of island peoples. Topics include: Indigeneity in the 21st Century; Indigenous epistemologies; Indigenous knowledge; for whom, by whom? Indigenous gatherings – on whose terms? New generation, New aspirations.

Looking back – moving forward, focusing on performance arts. Topics include: The state of Performing Arts – Theatre, Dance, Music and Literature; Heritage arts in the diaspora; Art Collectives; Art and Indigeneity.

Voice of the Maker – Enduring Practices, focusing on the voice, knowledge, and perspective of the makers themselves. Topics include: Mana taonga; Carving, Tattooing, Currency/Adornment, Textile arts, Clay and Feather-work – material arts in the new millennium; Oral and Literary arts, Maker and Researcher Collaborations.

Cultural space – Sites and Sights, focusing on the many types of spaces where Pacific arts are showcased. Topics include: Heritage practices and innovation; Alternative exhibiting spaces; Community galleries; Indigenous curatorial practice; Capturing and Recording; Social media, Digital, Photography, Street Art; Performing arts; Arts Collectives.

Marshall Islands youth alternative program to build self reliance

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The Marshall Islands is a group of 24 atolls, located near the equator in the western Pacific Ocean. A program that focuses on addressing issues of cultural identity while developing practical vocational skills for Marshall Island youth has been successful at providing future opportunities for these students who have dropped out of school. Director of the youth program, Alson Kelen, noted that "A hundred years ago, [End Page 66] everyone had a position in life as fishermen, weavers and local medicine experts. Today, kids are lost – they don't know where to fit in."

In the urbanized areas of the Marshall Islands, where 75% of the population of 53,000 live, school dropout rates are high with unemployment estimated to be 60...


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