The Olympics of Pacific Arts

Although the Festival of Pacific Arts (FestPac) that ran from May 22 to June 4, 2016 in Guam has ended, pictures that tell the story of the festival are still springing-up especially on the Web. As you may know, FestPac is also known as the “Olympics of Pacific Arts.” This traveling festival is hosted every four years by a different country in the Pacific, and will feature delegations from more than 25 island nations. Dan Lin of National Geographic recently posted an article titled, “Traditional Seafarers Gather to Celebrate Art and Culture in the Pacific Island.”

Lin spent time at the festival taking photographs and experiencing the pageantry and voices of 27 island nations. However, unlike sporting events such as the Olympics, the Pacific Games, or the Micronesian Games, this festival is one of celebration rather than competition. It is an exposé of culture, art, and pride – a sharing of stories and ideas that ultimately serve to bring stronger cohesion among the islands.

For Lin the most memorable part during his time at FestPac was the opening ceremony. This cultural welcome saw a fleet of Micronesian and Chamorro canoes sailing into the Paseo Boat Basin at sunrise. Lin felt that this was a beautiful moment for everyone in attendance to see a horizon full of voyaging canoes against the orange hue of sunrise. As the canoes sailed in, chants could be heard from the crews aboard each vessel, only to be matched by chants from different communities watching from shore.

Click on the link above to see some extraordinary photographs and to read Lin’s unique experience.

In other FestPac news- plans are already under way for the 2020 festival. Hawaii will host the 13th edition of the festival. A call for support from the PA’I Foundation has already been posted. Check out the brochure:


About islandculturearchivalsupport

Island Culture Archival Support (ICAS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of records pertaining to the cultural identity of island peoples in Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia whose national and public archives, libraries, cultural centers, and business organizations are underprivileged, underfunded, and understaffed. The specific purpose for which this nonprofit corporation was formed is to support the needs of these South Pacific cultural heritage institutions by helping to preserve and make accessible records created for business, accountability or cultural purposes. The organization will endeavor to add value by providing resources or volunteers to advise, train, and work among island residents to support their efforts in building their future and preserving their collective memory through the use of modern archival techniques.
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