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Thursday, October 12, 2006

3rd Melanesian Arts Festival bids farewell last night

By Navin Kumar

The unforgiving Suva rain did not dampen the spirit of the 3rd Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival as the 10-day event came to an end last night.

Embracing the theme of ‘Living Cultures, Living Traditions’, delegates from the five Melanesian countries, will now depart our shores. Prime Minister Lasenia Qarase, in his remarks during the closing ceremony of the festival said it was a unique celebration of a “shared and precious heritage”. PM said the exhibitions, demonstrations and performances had been a source of joy.

In thanking the participants who will be leaving for their homeland, Prime Minister said that people who participated brought enormous pleasure to our people who had the opportunity to see them.

He said the prime purpose of the festival was to ensure that Melanesian cultures retain their vitality and power, and to educate children and our youth generally in their great traditions. “Many of our values and ways are still central to everyday lives of Melanesian peoples across our vast ocean and so it must remain,” said Mr Qarase.

While shedding light on the importance of the festival, Mr Qarase said we live in a world where change is ever gaining place.

He said through this festival, the ancient ways and arts which shape and define the Melanesian character, are showcased and maintained.

He added there has been a special emphasis on engaging the younger generations because it is they who must carry our culture forward and it is a responsibility of our community and institutions who must help them to do this.

In conclusion, he said, think also of future visitors to Melanesian countries, who will continue to experience first-hand a priceless, living treasure, unique to our part of the world.

Source: Fiji Daily Post

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