Airport shop showcasing local artefacts, preserving tradition

Business

THE Chin H Meen-owned airport retail shop, A Little something from PNG, continues to showcase the culture of the country with this year’s mannequin display.
Featured dress for Agnes, the famous airport mannequin, is styled by Cathy Alex, who is of Southern Highlands and Chimbu heritage.
According to a statement from the shop, Alex’s label, Hauslain Souvenirs, is all about bringing into market rural PNG’s raw culture in handicraft making, thus, preserving thousands of years of traditional skills and knowledge passed down through the generations and at the same time providing income for local rural communities.
Currently on display at the airport is a traditional Huli wedding gown, which comprises a grass skirt, kina shell with red, black and white necklace, pandanus weaved armband, black digging stick, black veil accessorised with white natural seeds on the head and a bilum at the back of the head.
“Inside the bilum is a pandanus leaf woven mat, symbol for the incoming baby,” she said.
“All of these are supplied by Angore Women and Youth Development Foundation in promoting their unique culture.”
A Little Something from PNG gift shop located at the departure terminal of Jackson International Airport has been supporting the local market by providing a retail platform for creative talents and offerings since 1992.
Company director Grace Chin said the gift shop offered many genuine local goods and products that were unique to PNG, such as hand woven bilums and copper beatings, ground coffee from the Highlands to chocolates from Bougainville and this included Bosavi bilums from the Highlands supplied by Hauslain Souvenirs.
“We are very proud to represent PNG with our store, we have many travellers wanting to take photos of the store, the merchandise and the evolving monthly mannequin display,” she said. Alex proudly calls herself a “didi meri” (pidgin for female agricultural officer) after spending a decade training Southern Highlands and Gulf farmers to grow cash crops such as vanilla,carrots and cabbages.

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