A celebration of art and music at the Pacific Arts Festival in Guam

By Mere McLean

The art of weaving and traditional music are major features at the 12th Pacific Arts Festival in Guam.  Delegations from around the Pacific are sharing aspects of the culture and they are finding solidarity in the sharing of those traditions.

This group of Kanak women from New Caledonia weaves while they sing about past loves on their home island.

“Only what we are! We're so humble we are so small and our island is so small so we are happy to be in this place to meet all the islands at the same time it's so extraordinary,” says Wali Tetuanui from Kanak.

For the Chamorro, weaving has been taken up by the men following the decline of the art amount the women. 

“Nowadays it is a dying culture because everybody is more into their phones their iPad you know no- body really wants to go out do something more adventuress so I did take it up as a hobby,” says Tomas Torres from Chamorro.

Rob Ruha, Maisey Rika along with Horomona Horo use song and sound as the medium to voice issues.

Ruha says, “The main message in our songs is independence and that the theme that has come out of the opening ceremony. It is a real honour, I have now settled and my heart goes out to the indigenous people of this place.”

Ruha believes this experience has highlighted the similarities in the issues each culture faces.

“To see the other 27 delegations and to hear their songs and what they think about issues like unity, independence, rights to the land, water all of that.”

For the next nine days, this compound will ring with song and laughter from shared experiences, in an exchange that is unique to the people of the Pacific.