SPC Publication to Boost Solomon Islands’ Handcraft Industry


Suva, Fiji  – The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) has republished a landmark book on Solomon Islands handcrafts.

Handcrafts of the Solomon Islands was compiled by the late writer-photographer Robert Austin and first published in 1986, but has been out of print for many years.

The new edition is expected to help boost market demand for the South Pacific nation’s unique cultural artefacts.

The book is available on SPC’s website at www.spc.int/en/featured-publications.html (choose ‘Agriculture and Forestry’ under ‘Divisional Publications’).

‘Handcrafts of the Solomon Islands will raise the profile of Solomon Islands carvings and highlight the symbolism of wooden carvings as part of the ‘Solomons experience’ for visitors,’ said SPC Director-General Dr Jimmie Rodgers.

‘This book is being published at an especially opportune time, as Solomon Islands prepares to host the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts in Honiara in July 2012,’ he said.

‘The festival — and this booklet — highlight the importance of preserving traditional arts and crafts in these increasingly globalised times.’

Handcrafted artefacts made from wood and other natural materials represent a vibrant part of the living culture of Solomon Islands. For visitors to the country, wooden carvings are a readily identifiable symbol of their experience in the country. Sale of the wooden carvings has the potential to provide considerable financial benefits to small rural communities.

Dr Rodgers added, ‘We hope Handcrafts of the Solomon Islands achieves two things: provides a timely record of Solomon Islands’ unique cultural offerings for current and future generations of Islanders and, at the same time, creates a demand for them in the tourism and export markets.’

[Photo by Richard Majchrzak, Rainbow Photo Solomon Islands]

The book has been published through the European Union-funded Facilitating Agricultural Commodity Trade [FACT] project, which is implemented by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

The goal of this five-year ‘aid for trade’ pilot project, which started in 2008, is to increase the volume, value and diversity of Pacific Islands agricultural and forestry export products, with the view that any increase in exports will impact positively on rural communities by generating employment and stimulating the local economy.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) celebrated 65 years of service to Pacific Island countries and territories in 2012. SPC works in the following sectors: agriculture, aquaculture, culture, disaster reduction, education and educational assessment, energy, fisheries, forestry, geosciences, ICT, human rights, media, oceanography, public health, statistics and demography, transport, water and sanitation, and cross-cutting areas including climate change, food security and gender and youth issues.

SPC member countries and territories: American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji Islands, France, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, United States of America, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna.

Publications: SPC publications are available on its website: www.spc.int/en/publications.html.