News 5 Nov 2018
Ninety four Solomon Islands carvers and weavers mostly from Marovo Lagoon in the Western Province which is the largest lagoon in the world, have made history by arriving in Port Vila by boat with 5,000 pieces of carvings and woven products and put on display undoubtedly the largest and most beautiful exhibition of its kind in Vanuatu this week.
Chairman of the committee, Tyson Stanley Ghera, 29, says the products on display are mainly from Marovo Lagoon.
Approximately 70% of the people are excellent carvers and weavers.
Chairman Ghera says his generation has had the privilege to travel to study overseas and seen the benefits of exposure which prompted his committee to work in favour of such an initiative.
"I am young and I have questioned our local leaders for many years how they could pull strings together to make things happen and I don't blame them but perhaps they do not the potentials that our people have," the Chairman explains.
"But some of us have and we formed a committee and approached our Marovo Lagoon business man, Mr. Chacha Bule Amoi, for help and with his big heart, he offered free transportation for our 5,000 artefacts and paid for the fuel.
As they are returning to the Solomons this evening, they will start packing up at three o'clock this afternoon.
"We have made history and our intention is not just to come to sell our carvings and weavings but to also use the opportunity as a learning curve. We only wish carvers and weavers from Vanuatu would come to meet us so that we could use this opporunity to learn from them while we learn from us", he says.
"I wish to express our gratitude to the Mayor of Port Vila for accommodating us on the Sea Front and our Solomons businessman for his generosity towards transporting us to Port Vila".
Asked if they are returning to next year, he explains, "This is the first attempt and we left it in the hands of the City Council of Honiara to arrange it with the City Council of Port Vila and in fact our Mayor is here, and the City Council Clerk who flew back after the opening ceremony (before) yesterday".
Their Chairman agrees it is a learning curve for everyone involved and hopes any similar event between the two countries can only get better.
If such an arrangement could be repeated every six months, it would be plus for everyone including the mamas and carvers of the Vanuatu Handcraft Centre and Bulvana Art and Handicraft Cooperative.
A prominent leader in Port Vila has called on the Port Vila Municipal Authorities to promote such an important event well in advance to let in particular, the business community of Port Vila as well as the local population, to know in advance to buy their carvings and weavings from the Solomon Islands.