The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is working towards the establishment of a Solomon Islands National Arts Council.
Minister for Culture and Tourism Hon Bartholomew Parapolo made the announcement during the re-opening of the National Art Gallery this morning. The reopening follows the completion of the facility’s $1.6-Million refurbishment project that was fully funded by the Solomon Islands Government.
The refurbished facility was jointly reopened by Minister Parapolo and the Patron of the Solomon Islands Artist Association, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in the presence of representatives of the Diplomatic Corp, Governor of the Central Bank, Denton Rarawa and tourism industry and government officials.
Minister Parapolo said the Solomon Islands National Arts Council will provide the governance framework and to spearhead the development of the Arts industry in the country, when making his remarks at the occasion.
“The National Arts Council will be the umbrella body mandated to develop all the various art forms in a holistic manner by nurturing and developing artists, arts groups and arts businesses, to providing international stages for Solomon Islands’ artists to showcase their talents and providing financial and non-financial schemes at all levels of participation.
“The establishment of the National Arts Council will help to enhance the relationship within the arts community, where artists and arts groups become partners, implementing the national art development plans.
“In the global context, the unique Solomon Islands’ arts need to be protected from being duplicated and exploited, thus the immediate need for legal instruments like the “Traditional Knowledge and Expressions of Culture’, ‘Relics’ and ‘Museum Bill’ to be in place.
“These Bill are prioritised by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to be enacted in 2017. This legislation that will pave the way for the work of the National Arts Council to serve to protect the Solomon Islands people’s identities, cultures, artefacts, chants and other cultural expressions.
“When established, the Solomon Islands National Arts Council will then help to administer and coordinate the various artist associations throughout the country, including the Solomon Islands Music Association and the Solomon Islands Artists Association,” Minister Parapolo said.
The Minister of Culture and Tourism said the refurbished National Art Gallery will now meet the requirements to host both local and international art exhibitions.
In 2012, the National Art Gallery hosted the Arts Exhibition for the Pacific Arts Festival.
Meanwhile, the Solomon Islands Artists Association patron, Prime Minister Sogavare said the over $1.6-Million refurbishment of the National Art Gallery is part of the Democratic Coalition for Change Government’s focus on developing the tourism sector.
He said art gallery has played an important role in the ‘tourist market’ and together with the National Museum became critical institutions with a particular focus on ‘culture’ as a tourist attraction for Solomon Islands.
The Prime Minister said now that the National Art Gallery has been refurbished, art and craft display will be in full operation.
He said both galleries of the national Art Gallery facility-art gallery and craft gallery-will be fully engaged by both art and craft showcasing the multi-cultural practices and heritage throughout Solomon Islands.
Prime Minister Sogavare said it is his hope that Solomon Islanders from all walks of life will take time to visit the Art Gallery and view the arts and crafts by Solomon Islands very own artists to show support and appreciation to local artists.
He said art portrays both traditional and spiritual values from the unique cultures of the country and living memories of Solomon Islanders and their environment.
The Prime Minister said because of the country’s unique social and historical situation, its art exhibitions have always drawn different cultural and ethnic groupings from within and outside of Solomon Islands.