FESTPAC Day 4: Guam Takes Center Stage

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Honiara, Solomon Islands – It rained on Day 4 of the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts in Honiara, Solomon Islands in the early afternoon hours and provided some cool respite for the crowds that still came out in droves for the Festival.

At the Guam Leaf Hut, the culinary team was the big hit as Rita Okiyama and Sue Siguenza prepared “Buñelos Aga” banana donut samples hot off the fryer for the culinary exhibition with many people coming back for more. In preparation for her demonstration, Okiyama attempted to refine her recipe during previous nights at the dormitories, but the sweet aroma of buñelos filled the night air drawing members of the Guam delegation for this night-capper. The next culinary demonstration will be to prepare tatiyas.

[Guam artist Frank Perez displaying his wares at the Guam hut]

Simeon Palomo also demonstrated his tropical art arrangements using rice, coconut leaves, beetlenut and local flowers to the delight of the crowd. Curious at first, spectators then realized the simplicity and beauty of his art and the use of locally grown materials in his floral arrangements. Our traditional artists continued with their exhibition of body ornamentation jewelry and a traditional chant by Joe Guerrero, Jr. and På’a Taotao Tano performing the Spanish era song and dance.

Guam’s visual artists took the day to prepare for the evening opening of the Visual Arts Exhibition for the Festival at the newly constructed Art Gallery. On display from Guam were Joe Babauta’s contemporary ink drawings, Adriano Pangelinan’s brilliant water color scenes, and Monica Baza’s wood blocks. Joe Guerrero displayed his body ornamentation and wood and clamshell sculptures. The Barcinas sisters exhibited their intricately woven crab and seashell weavings while the Sablan brothers, Dave and Philip brought their stone sculptures.

[Visual artists Rita, Maria and Erisa Barcinas with their father Judge Art Barcinas and 2016 Chairlady Theresa Arriola outside the Gallery]

The Opening of the Visual Arts Exhibit drew hundreds of people to the gallery estimated at around 6,000 square feet. The attention given to the Barcinas sisters for their weaving really gave inspiration to them to continue in their art. “I felt a greater appreciation for all the work and time we’ve spent on these pieces because being around other artists and seeing them enjoy our work and asking questions made us really proud to be here representing Guam”, said Maria Barcinas, the eldest of the three sisters.

Cultural performances were held throughout the evening and as an added attraction to the venue, leaf huts were installed outside the gallery which featured arts and crafts from various Solomon island artists.