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Indigenous Australian delegation to journey to Hawaiʻi for FestPAC 2024

Maria Marouchtchak -

With all eyes currently on Eurovision, the world will turn to the Pacific in June for the largest cultural gathering of First Nations People at FestPAC 2024 in Hawaiʻi.

After experiencing two delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 28 nations will gather to celebrate the arts of First Nations communities from the Pacific region and honour the survival of their culture.

Set to participate in the festivities, Australia will send a delegation to represent the nation after an eight-year wait.

"The delegates will showcase the richness and diversity of First Nations art and cultural practice at this important global gathering," said Creative Australia Executive Director, First Nations Arts & Culture Franchesca Cubillo.

Having recently supported the journey of Kamilaroi and Bigambul artist Archie Moore, who won the prestigious Golden Lion for Best National Participation at La Biennale de Venezia 2024, Creative Australia will again play a role in catapulting the vibrancy of the oldest living culture to the world.

Creative Australia CEO, Adrian Collette AM underscored the event's unique opportunity for collaboration, encompassing live performances, cultural workshops, fashion, film, and storytelling, fostering mutual learning and sharing among nations.

Performers during the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts Guam 2016 opening ceremony at Paseo Stadium in Hagatna. (Image: Frank San Nicolas)

Delegations will address the theme of 'Hoʻoulu Lāhui: Regenerating Oceania' in light of pressing issues faced by many island nations.

Rising sea levels, coral reef threats, Indigenous Traditional Knowledge Systems and Cultural Property Rights protection, and social inequality are significant topics expected to be a focal point of the festival.

CEO at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Stacy Kealohalani Ferreira told Kawaiola News FestPAC will not just be a cultural display.

"It is a strategic confluence for discussing and addressing the existential threats facing the Pacific," Ms Ferreira said.

Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo receives a gift from the Australian delegation at the FestPAC in Guam, 2016. (Image: Frank San Nicolas)

Promising to highlight the importance of Indigenous rights, Ms Ferreira said "in a world where such rights are often sidelined, this event offers a stage for Pacific Islanders to assert our identity, share our stories, and advocate for inherent rights and self-determination".

Australian delegates expected to participate include:

Arpaka Dance Company (TSI – Moa)

Benjamin Warlngundu Ellis Bayliss (NT)

Carclew Youth Arts (SA)

Constantina Bush (NT)

First Nations Art Centre Delegates (supported by the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation, NT)

Indigenous Fashion Show Delegates (supported by Indigenous Fashion Projects, NT)

Injalak Arts and Crafts (NT)

Jannawi Dance Clan (NSW)

MozZiXInkatja– New Moon (SA)

Muggera Cultural Enterprise (QLD and NSW)

Nornie Bero (TSI – Meriam)

Our Islands Our Home (TSI)

Paul Girrawah House (ACT)

Sonja, Freja and Elisa Jane Carmichael (QLD)

Stephen and Chase Pigram (WA)

Zoe Rimmer (TAS)

Jannawi Dance Clan. (Image: Liza Moscatelli)

For the first time in its history, the event will incorporate a Youth Ambassadors program, with Rulla Kelly-Mansell (TAS) and Siena Mayutu Wurmarri Stubbs (NT) representing Australia.

Rulla Kelly-Mansell. (Image: Nick Manuell) and Siena Mayutu Wurmarri Stubbs. (Image: Sienna Stubbs)

FestPAC is scheduled to take place in Hawaiʻi from 6-16 June 2024.

For more information on the Australian delegation, visit the Creative Australia website.

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