Festival of Pacific Arts 2000
photos & text by Sally Andrew
Held once every four years, the Festival of Pacific Arts gives each Pacific country an opportunity to share their culture, beliefs, myths, legends, dances and songs. In October 2000, the Festival was hosted by the French overseas territory of New Caledonia where over two thousand people from twenty-seven participating Pacific nations converged on the capital, Noumea. Events were simultaneous in three or four locations and Festival fever reached epidemic proportions.
The first festival was held in Suva in 1972. Each Festival provides the opportunity for Pacific countries to share their cultures, allowing them to chart a unique course towards the future despite globalization. The goal is to maintain the authenticity of indigenous Pacific cultures, as constructed by each country's artists, and to demystify the exotic image which tourism continues to promote. The struggle, according to Kanak philosopher Jean-Marie Tjibaou is to build as much of our past and culture as we can into the future community. "Culture," he said, "is always unfinished. Our identity lies ahead of us."
In 2004, the FPA was held in Palau, Micronesia. In 2008, American Samoa will act as the host nation.