Thursday, December 20.
Story by Dan
Photos by Leslie & Dan
THE ARAWA BOYS, MASIPO GROUP gathered the traditional building materials yesterday from the bush for today’s Osikaiang art and cultural exhibition. The huts made from bush knife cut trees and bamboo, covered with coconut and banana leaves, formed the bases for exhibiting spaces for a number of cultural groups from North, Central and South Bougainville.
There were traditional spears, bows and arrows and other cultural artefacts on exhibition along with woven baskets and fans being made by the Women.
I recall one of the women talking about the importance of continuing cultural practice as a way of keeping healthy and free of negative western influences, such as alcohol or drug abuse.
There was a number of elders present guiding the learning experience for young Bougainvilleans with music and dance.
Another main feature was the wood carvings on display including totem poles, tools and a lifelike wood carving of Bougainville’s late prime minister Joseph Kaboui.
A welcome dance from the local Masipo group followed the arrival of the Autonomous Bougainville Government Representatives of the Arts and Culture Department.
Throughout the day there was an open mic that allowed people to speak about the importance of culture and arts for the future of the new Bougainville and to address concerns about the impacts of money and greed that has the potential for disaster and has lead to the crisis and permanent closure of Panguna mine in the past.
It was vocalised very strongly by numerous locals that mining was not the way forward for Bougainville and that tourism and agriculture would pave the future for the people’s independence.