The Solomon Star published an interesting article about a unique festival that took place at Lela Beach in the Kakabona area, West of Honiara this past week. The festival is the first of its kind and is the result of a massive effort including representation of all 21 Wards of the Guadalcanal Province.
Debbie Lukisi, a member of the Guadalcanal Weaving Festival Committee said she is looking forward for the event. “I’m so passionate about supporting the rural women. Since I was a young child, I see my relatives bringing their beautiful weaving work into town, walking the streets and trying to sell – they sometime struggle to sell it and make money to send their children to school,” Lukisi said.
She also said, “Solomon Islands needs more avenues to support work like this – platforms that support arts, crafts and the informal sector. I hope that this festival will attract many customer for my people and that they too will learn something about our culture and kastom.”
The event will feature demonstrations of traditional weaving from across Guadalcanal. There will be opportunity for the public to try their hands at a weaving workshop, demonstrations of traditional food preparation, a kid’s corner for kastom stori, traditional dancing, pan pipes and sting band, presentation of a Chupu (gifting ceremony unique to Guadalcanal) and a modern twist with recycled weaving – transforming your everyday rubbish items into useful goods!
The Weaving Festival has been an idea in the works for a number of years, inspired by a weaving group based in Australia ‘Weaving Connection’ that showcase their products throughout Asia and the Pacific.
When Ms Lukisi saw their work, she immediately recognized the similarities with the traditional weaving she had grown up with in the Guadalcanal Highlands and was able to connect the Australian based group to the Tourism and Culture Officer of the Guadalcanal Province.
With the support of the Guadalcanal Provincial Government and Premier Anthony Veke, Debbie and the Tourism and Culture Officer, Jacinta Vagha, undertook a scoping mission in October 2016 in order to learn how to re-create the event here in the Solomon Islands. “This kind of even is important not only as a livelihood opportunity for the women of Guadalcanal, but as important tourism attraction and an opportunity for everyone in Honiara and beyond to engage with Guadalcanal’s culture, and to learn more about the lifestyle of the people in different geographical areas, the history of those people, their art, their weavings and other elements that help shape their way of life,” she said.
In preparation for the event, committee members have gathered together to give the venue a facelift – Lela Beach is owned and run by Francis Pako and his siblings. The Guadalcanal Weaving Festival Committee would like to humbly thank the Guadalcanal Provincial Government for their outstanding support, and to thank their hardworking committee members for ensuring the festival is a success.