12th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture
In 2016, Guåhan hosted the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture (FestPac). With the theme “Håfa Iyo-ta, Håfa Guinahå-ta, Håfa Ta Påtte, Dinanña’ Sunidu Siha Giya Pasifiku” (“What We Own, What We Have, What We Share, United Voices of the Pacific”), The festival had thousands of participants from 24 Pacific Island nations and territories present for two weeks celebrating the people of Oceania.
FestPac is the largest and most prestigious regional celebration of traditional and contemporary Pacific arts. Its vision is to preserve Pacific traditional arts for future generations and to provide a platform for Pacific people to gather and share their diverse cultural art forms. The original organizers, the Fiji Arts Council and the South Pacific Commission (now known as the Pacific Community), envisioned a festival organized BY Pacific people FOR Pacific people.
It would re-emphasize the importance of traditional art forms, encourage the creation of new forms of artistic expression, promote the use of Indigenous languages, raise awareness, and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Pacific islanders. FestPac is one of the few platforms available to Indigenous Pacific Islanders to come together and engage in activities and discussion of issues that affect us all.
Guåhan has participated in the festival since the 1970s. Aside from the successful hosting of FestPac in 2016, it was also an opportunity to think about Guåhan’s political status and for some delegation members to strongly call for Guåhan’s decolonization.