Pacific Arts Festival – Samoa 2012

Anyone growing up on Australia’s east coast, and surfing the warm Pacific Ocean will have their mind drawn to the question of what exists over the east horizon.

As a surfer you realise the lure of the islands of the Pacific, with fringing coral reefs without number offering visions of perfect breaks offshore from idyllic palm fringed islands.

Hawaii, Tahiti, Fiji, and the Bismark Archipelago in Papua New Guinea are but a few places where the dream has been and forever will be be realised.

For me personally, the first exploratory journeys in search of surf also opened my mind to the exploration of Pacific cultures.

Widely diverse creativity is deeply rooted in the Pacific cultures and traditional village life. Carving, weaving, paining, dance, canoe-building, song and ceremony define the Pacific cultures as among the richest and most wonderful on earth.

The very vastness of the Pacific, and the distances between island nations have ensured that, for the most part, the cultures have remained alive and have not suffered the destruction of other indigenous cultures after European invasion.

With roots in New Ireland Province, Marianne and I curated an exhibition of PNG contemporaneous painting which was part of the 2012 Pacific Arts Festival in Western Samoa.

To be in the crucible of the gathering of the most creative artists from over 30 Pacific nations was a memorable and inspiring experience which I’ll never forget.

The inspiration of traditional Pacific arts and architecture is equally as important to us as that of European design tradition in providing a deep well of experience and understanding from which to draw when designing architecture for similar climates.

This becomes the basis of our design heritage.