Our visit to the Cultural Museum inspired us all. Witnessing Edgar perform his sand-droing, tell age old stories with his softly resonating voice, play a simple bamboo flute with velvetty refinement and coerce us with his soft shuffling of feet wearing his percussive seed anklets, I was captured by his humbling grace, knowledge and poetic spoken imagery. I believe we were all greatly moved. I would have to digest that further, but he had captured us all. He was a link deep into Ni-Vanuatu culture.
The Secret Garden held a wealth of information and varied at that. Kastom medicinal plants, creation stories, canoe boat making, kava drinking, cannibalism, magic, missionaries, coconut crabs, bats, iguanas. Really, a multi-faceted place, yes it held secrets and answers and questions.
Our guide demonstrated his own questioning to the information held within the garden- If Adam and Eve were created naked and there was nothing wrong with it, why then when the missionaries arrived did the Ni-Vanuatu appear so naked? Amazing how he answered his own question, of how the missionaries showed them their own nakedness in reflection to the missioinaries. Poignant.
I became interested in photos that had a western woman of the early 1900's appear in them, wife of an ethnographer? . The contrast of that woman with the local women. I was intrigued by both.
I was absorbing it all. That night Jeremy, Amanda and I plotted. Collaboration was in the making. Our conversations were beginning to overlap and so were our ideas. We were noticing the foreigner in the landscape, the introduced..... "the unwelcome guests".
All inspired by Edgar, how could he and his wisdom be the thread that bound our ideas? Would he join us in collaboration?
Bakeo, R. Qarani, F (nd) "The Unwelcome Guests. Proceedings of the Asia-Pacific forest invasive species Conference." Department of Forests, Department of Quarantine. FAO, Regional Office for Asian and the Pacific. Retrieved Jul 29, 2014 http://www.fao.org/docrep/008/ae944e/ae944e0a.htm