PALAU ARTS FESTIVAL A CULTURAL FEAST

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By Caroline Yacoe

KOROR, Palalu (Pacific Islands Report, July 30) - Day eight of the Festival of Pacific Arts in Palau’s capital city unfolded on Wednesday with wild enthusiasm from visitors and participants alike.

From morning symposiums on music copyright issues, to demonstrations of traditional healing, to the closing dances late at night, the festival offered a full and varied feast.

The entertainment offered the upbeat lilt of Solomon Islander panpipes and a finely attired Wallis and Futuna group.

Neither rain nor warm temperatures deterred the audience.

In keeping with this festival’s there: Nurture, Regenerate and Celebrate a rotating group of artists and artisans from the 24 participating entities give close up examples of their talents in a Pavilion area.

At a communal Peace Board, wood carvers from each entity created a square representing their country.

Traditional presentations from Papua New Guinea, The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, and the Cook Islands continue to wow audiences with their dress and performances.

More noticeable at this Festival however, is the contemporary choreography from some participants, especially New Zealand and, surprisingly, Tonga.

Canoe-building and navigation, films, a Jam House with all musical offerings and dancing, cooking demonstrations, contemporary as well as traditional art shows at the Palau National Museum, plays, poetry recitals, literary arts and architecture displays add to the visitors choices.

Palau as the host country has outdone itself in organization and hospitality. At the opening ceremonies, which included approximately 6,000 people, dinners were served to all attendees.

For the most part, schedules have been accurate and the courtesy of all involved has been unmatched.

As a break from the Festival activities visitors also have the opportunity to enjoy boat trips and water activities in the magnificent Rock Islands and to see the villages with traditional finely decorated Men’s Houses that continue to be part of Palauan culture.

July 30, 2004

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