Women weavers of Milne Bay to showcase weaving in two day festival

Women Weavers of Milne Bay (WWOMB) will showcase their weaving skills and the cultural aspects surrounding weaving in a two day festival in July.

Egwalau Tours and Events will host the festival on July 15-16 at the Education Milne Bay.

The first day of the festival will be the weaver’s exhibition and the next night will be a fashion night exhibiting local fashion designers that use weaving.

According to Egwalau Tours and Events spokeswoman Maxine Nadile she and her business partner Elaine Bate began planning the festival six years ago.

Nadile explained that the purpose of the festival is the first event to be introduced into the Milne Bay cultural calendar as an event that focusses on women and highlights the unique cultural traditions that Milne Bay women have and have not showcased in past festivals.

She added that it will be a multi-faceted exhibition in partnership with Maisim Cultural Foundation to exhibit a number of works and profiles from a few selected women weavers from the Alotau and Samarai-Murua Districts.

She added that they wanted to trial these two women groups first before showcasing other women from the other two districts.

“After the success of this event it would be hosted as an annual or bi-annual event to include women from Esa’ala and Kiriwina Good Enough,” she said.

She added that there has been a workshop organised to gauge the interest of women before the festival.

Interest has been raised with the involvement of Alotau District Women’s Empowerment Programme President Angela Nelson and the Alotau District Administrator Lindsay Elesana who have supported the exhibition bringing women in from Daga, Makamaka, Weraura, Huhu and Suau to identify the unique weaving skills of various  ethnic communities.

A follow up workshop will be organised in June for Samarai-Murua women.

There were interesting discussions raised during the workshop from Alotau District women from not only the weaving skills but the various stories and cultural aspects surrounding weaving.

Weaving materials like coconut, pandanus, fibres, shells and even billum will be exhibited  as woven items.

“Cultural aspects like mats and baskets for the home, feasting, gardening and also the end result of commercial value where the weaving skills can later be used in fashion design which will be highlighted on the second day of the festival,” she added.

She also added that there were some talented Milne Bay women fashion designers like Elsie Roroipe, Daisy Pawa who will also exhibit some of their fashion using the woven material in a contemporary way.

Elsie Namunu is already being engaged in working with Alotau Womens                Empowerment with weaving.

Apart from the weaving and fashion there will be other entertainment on show like PNG’s stand-up comedian Elton Kili and Alotau’s Vocal Fusion star Isaiah Manoa. Milne Bay cooking recipies will also be on show.

For interested women weavers or information contact the WWOMB Coordinator – Michelle Benua on Phone Numbers – 6410176/73022635 or by email –events@egwalau.com.pg

Photo: A Huhu Women displays her weaving skills that will be exhibited at the exhibition.

Paul Maolai