Kastom: Art of Vanuatu exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra

Here below is the url link for an ABC Radio Australia media release from its local 666 ABC Canberra station about the current Kastom: Art of Vanuatu exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, which was opened on the 7th February 2013 by Vanuatu’s High Commissioner in Canberra, HE Kalfau Kaloris. The Director of the VKS (Vanuatu Cultural Centre), Marcellin Abong, headed an important VKS delegation to the NGA (National Gallery) for a full week during this time. This delegation included a young female sand-drawing demonstrator from northern Pentecost, Samantha Leo, who had learnt the art (proclaimed a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2003) at the VKS Kastom School in the capital, Port Vila. The evening before the official opening the VKS Director and VKS Curator, Kaitip Kami (both from southern Malakula) performed a sacred traditional ceremony to ‘prepare’ the ancestral and other spirits linked to the exhibition objects for their forthcoming display. Attendance at this torch-lit ceremony (using specially-coloured battery torches instead of fire) was restricted, by kastom, to a small number of males of status (including the Director of the NGA, Ron Radford AM),and media representatives and photographs were not permitted.
This 666 ABC Canberra news release (below), with photos and interviews, was produced by ABC Canberra’s Louise Maher, and was conducted in a special session within the exhibition area a few hours before the official opening. To read the news item, see some photos, and listen to the 7-minute radio programme, click on the link below.

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