Group returns from arts fest

The National,Monday June 27th, 2016

BEL Isi Park on Buka Island in Bougainville came alive when the Irish Cultural Group took centre stage.
The group surprised everyone with their performances at a ceremony to signify the “tsutsu” or acceptance of a Bougainville cultural group that has travelled overseas for the first time.
The group was from Tinputz on Bougainville’s mainland and represented Bougainville and PNG at the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts in Guam two weeks ago.
Officers from the National Cultural Commission and Bougainville MPs were also at the ceremony.
Robert Sawa, an MP of the Bougainville government, thanked President John Momis for allowing and supporting the traditional dancers to travel with the PNG contingent to Guam.
He accompanied the Irish Cultural Group to Guam.
Sawa also thanked Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and the Government for their support through the National Cultural Commission.
“Whenever they performed, they flew the AROB (Bougainville) and PNG flags and attracted crowds,” he said.
Sawa said other cultures in the Pacific Islands were eroding because of western influences but PNG was going in the right direction by preserving, safeguarding, promoting and developing its cultures.
Sawa said Bougainville could become a major tourist destination with more investment.
He encouraged other cultural groups, including the people of Bougainville, to keep promoting their cultures.
Deputy speaker of the House Francisca Semeso said Bougainville was blessed to represent PNG at the festival.
“The group were the ambassadors of PNG and ABG.
“It is a nice feeling to see Bougainville represented at the international arena,” she said.