Goroka preparing to stage seventh bilum festival

Highlands

By ZACHERY PER
GOROKA town is gearing up to stage the seventh Goroka Bilum (string bag) Festival this week apart from the 60th annual show and 41st Independence anniversary.
Festival founder and host Florence Jaukae on Monday confirmed that preparations were nearly complete with international guests and the major sponsor already in Goroka.
“Our major sponsor is Pacific Island Trade and Investment based in Sydney, Australia, its representative and creative manageress Ruth Choulai has arrived in Goroka, now,” Jaukae said.
She said other guests were from Australian museums and art galleries in Sydney. Many Australian citizens are also coming to the festival to be held today and tomorrow at the Bird of Paradise Hotel.
Jaukae said the festival was staged to celebrate ancient skills and designs of bilums and also about preserving, protecting the skills and designs.
She said it is also to show case the artistic formations of bilum designs and styles used by the modern generations.
Jauka said some of the main products to be displayed were bilum caps, hats, wall hangings, dresses, mobile phone carriers, however, the bilum as a bag remained the most creative expression of the weaver.
“Bilum weaving is a skill shared by women, a skill or knowledge that is passed from one generation to another. Bilums can be seen on the streets of Sydney, New York, London, Suva, Apia or anywhere in the world, an indication of how far this unique product travels
“The bilum marketing and exhibition will include selling of bilums and promoting not only in PNG but at international markets,” she said.

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