Jakarta, Jubi – Indonesia will for the first time be the host of the Melanesian Arts and Culture Festival 2015 to be held from 26–30 October in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara Barat.
“It is a fact that majority of Melanesian population, about 80 percent, live in Indonesia,” the Director General of Culture of the Minister of Education and Culture, Kacung Marijan, told reporters in the press conference held in Jakarta on last week.
The festival will be attended by the stakeholders in cultural affairs and artists from Indonesia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia and the Melanesian Spearhead Group’s representative based in Vanuatu.
In this festival that aims to improve collaboration among the Melanesian countries, the Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Diplomacy of the Minister of Education and Culture will held a conference, film screenings and dance performance. Representatives from East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, North Maluku, Papua and West Papua will represent Indonesia in the festival.
Three Indonesian movies that would be screened in the festival are Atambua 39 C, Tanah Mama and Cahaya Dari Timur; and the Indonesian actress Jajang C Noer and actor Chico Jericho will attend as representative of the movie.
In addition to Indonesia, Fiji and New Caledonia will also send their movies to be screened in the community forum of Melanesian culture influence for sharing knowledge, tradition and culture to improve the solidarity in Melanesian region.
Melanesia is a sub-race, which its distribution in Indonesia covers East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, North Maluku, Papua and West Papua and other countries such as Vanuatu, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.
Archeologist from the National Archeological Research Center, Prof. Dr. Harry Truman Simanjuntak, explained their ancestors came to Indonesian archipelago some were decided to stay and some were migrated until Australia and based in Papua, Papua New Guinea and Australia. The culture were grown in Papua and Papua New Guinea later spread out until East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara and to the eastern regions such as Fiji and Vanuatu.
The evidence of Melanesian heritage was proven its presence in Australia represented by Aborigines since 60,000 years ago. Meanwhile relics in Indonesia refer to 45,000 – 50,000 years ago. The cultural differences grow in the Melanesian spreading according to Truman were influenced by local factors.
Kacung Marijan is targeting the festival could bring the comprehensive understanding about Melanesia and its distribution, including in the cultural context. “The improvement of cooperation among Melanesian countries for example in the fields of culture, education and economy,” Marijan said.
While Truman added this festival is also aimed to raise the awareness of two largest races in Indonesia, Mongoloid and Austronesia, are relatives and culturally and biologically interacted since thousands years ago. “Do not build a barrier, to know each other to let the nationality grows,” Truman said. (*)