Festival aims to promote Karkar’s bilum designs


The second Karkar Island Bilum Festival will be held this weekend at the Kinim government station on Karkar Island.
Festival chairman Pholas Yongole said it would be held at the showground and hundreds of visitors from Madang, other parts of the country and overseas were expected to attend.
The show was first held at Mapor village last year but would now be at the island’s government station.
Yongole said the main aim of the festival was to promote Karkar-made bilums.
“Like many great festivals, small ideas start with one or two people.  And after a small start, it grew into an annual spectacular event.
“I say think big, start small and start now.”
Yongole  said the whole idea behind hosting the event was to identify skilled bilum makers and to establish a group of talented women from Karkar who were not only making money through selling bilums but were part of a growing society.
He said the main source of income for Karkar Islanders were copra and cocoa but the bilums were becoming very popular and were also sold in both local markets and other craft markets.
“It has become a way of earning an income for some locals,” Yongole said.
He said bilum-making continued to help locals who did not have formal education to generate incomes.
Yongole said women in the North Coast area and other parts of Madang also wove bilums apart from Karkar islanders.
“People living in other parts of Madang also make traditional bilums but the practices and processes of making bilums are not same,” he said.
The Karkar bilums are easily
identified by their unique colour patterns.
Yongole said Karkar bilums were used by not only people of Karkar and Madang but many others around the country and abroad.

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