Hagatna, Guam— Pacific island cultures are surviving the threats of modern living, even thriving in the complexity of globalization, according to Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo.
“More of our children are proud about their cultures and history as a people,” he said during the opening of the 2016 Festival of the Pacific Arts on Sunday. “They are returning the lands and the sea that sheltered and fed our people for over three centuries.”
The evolution of Pacific cultural arts, Calvo said, doesn’t only reflect the islanders’ identity but also speak of “how we view ourselves and our place in the world.”
Dancers from American Samoa. Photo by Mar-Vic Cagurangan
FestPac is not just a celebration and preservation of cultures, Calvo added, rather, it is an opportunity to “set our sights on moving our islands beyond anything that our forefathers have attained.”
Also known as the “Olympics of the Arts,” FestPac sees the gathering of more than 2,500 delegates from 27 island nations, sharing arts in all forms and fusions through the event themed “What We Own, What We Have, What We Share, United Voices of the Pacific.”
The opening night—highlighted by the parade and cultural performances by delegates from 27 participating island nations— is culmination of more than a year’s worth of Guam’s preparations that entailed $13 million.
Weavers from New Caledonia. Photo by Mar-Vic Cagurangan
“This year, the Guam delegation is larger than ever, and Guam residents and visitors are able to share the excitement, and take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about the cultures of the islanders with whom we share this Pacific region,” Calvo said.
A host of exhibits, forums, theater productions, cultural performances and demonstrations are lined up at various sites throughout the island during the two week event that ends on June 3.
“We continue to encourage members of the local community to welcome the visitors to our island and to learn more about them and their cultures and their arts,” Calvo said. “The visiting delegations have put much time and effort into preparing for FestPac and appreciating their efforts can only enhance the cooperation and sharing among all who are taking part.”