In coinciding with the festival the PNG National Museum and Art Gallery hosted 'Lines of Diversity'. This is an exhibition that aims to show Melanesians as one people and that, we in Melanesia form different lines to celebrate various ceremonies and rituals that informs our belief systems and connects us to nature
The exhibition makes us to think about lines in relations to Melanesian belief systems, kinship, song cycles, agriculture techniques, knowledge and teachings about architecture and craftsmanship. For example, we see lines of pig in a moka ceremony in the highlands demonstrating men's wealth, hard work and promote the idea of 'big men' and his status. Another example is the lines we notice in a Kava ceremony in Fiji where kava is served according to status or seniority in the community. We also see lines in marriage patterns where people are allowed to marry into certain lines that bind them together. There are many more examples that you may think of as you gaze into the underlining meanings of the exhibits on display. Where else do we find these lines that binds our tribes, clans and communities together than in Melanesia?
Melanesia is the hub of cultural diversity with so many languages, traditions and culture. Besides this diversity, Melanesians share certain commonalities. One of which is the idea of thinking about lines. These are lines as seen on geometrical outlines of material cultures and in association with social relations between and within groups of people and their environment. Our exhibition, 'lines of diversity' illustrates certain examples to look at lines and to make you think about lines that has special meanings in contrast to physical lines that we see every day.
For example lines we see in sand drawings from Vanuatu is not a static pattern rather they leave behind certain messages, explain certain concepts and tell and recount stories. In other words, lines found on the sand are not necessarily drawings but are writings that express and connect the people and their habitats. Another example is the lines found on pottery wares that symbolizes and help shape the culture of a society whilst also being able to trace it back to its roots. These lines represent either a clan group or ancestral motif that is important in trades such as the Hiri trade between the Koitabuans and the Gulf. Through this line of exchange, marriage between these two societies also flourished binding these societies together that continue to remain.
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