Preparing for the new Ni-Vanuatu cabinet to be summoned in by the higher institutions.
Our night arrival welcomed us with a verdant vespertine smell of the pacific. Daytime the aroma is fused with acrid plastic burning. Us midnight arrivals being greeted by an energetic local band. The female bass player, in her mother hubbard floral dress, straddles her bush bass, large wooden box and single stringed, contolled by the flexing of the string on it's neck or pole. The band quickly finishes as we pass them, the last of the night.
Next morning, our first day, and we are greeted with the lush green and lagoon. An afternoon reconnaissance, meeting all our other collaborators and a Church visit, welcoming in the new Vanuatu Cabinet. It is a quick way to become acquainted with our peers, under the watchful eyes of the higher powers, embraced by fervent songs of the Church and Bislama, the local version of Pijin.
I always find it fascinating how embraced the Church is, yet remains entwined or parallel to tribal and Kastom ways.
In the evening, the group meets and we learn of each other projects. They are all interesting. I am drawn to Jeremy's concerns of ocean plastics and Amanda's ideas of non-communicable diseases due to introduced food customs, returning to more traditional foods. Both these ideas touch on concepts of the intersection of nature and cultures, of which I am basing my project.
My interest is looking at local kastoms and narratives, and how these evolve and can be intersected. I am intrigued in how the landscape shares it's self within these stories and if introduced materials in the landscape, such as plastics play on the mind of Ni- Vanuatu. I am also very interested in the role of women in these kastoms, and how the status of women can be elevated through kastom practice. I am also curious to see how Ni-Vanuatu artists create contemporary works using traditional methods, or how does the art and craft of Vanuatu translate now.