“Language is our identity. Language is our culture. Down deep in the ocean to the top of the mountains, language is our roots and connection. We have to understand our native language because that’s where our foundation is.”
Sandy Sur, Leweton Cultural Village
There is an opportunity to support the ongoing cultural revival across the islands of Vanuatu by funding the Leweton Cultural Community’s work organising the Dung Verei Festival (sound of the island) a local festival held in Mota-lava at the same time as TORBA Day in Santo, 1st & 2nd October 2021.
The COVID Pandemic may have cut off Vanuatu from international tourism, however domestic tourism and the continual work of cultural groups is growing true exchange of cultural knowledge between Vanuatu communities. To meet the challenges brought by the Pandemic and the long-term impacts of Climate change, we all need to support ni-Vanuatu creative sovereignty that is fundamental to supporting wellbeing, health, joy and resilience in the Pacific.
The Dung Verei Festival
The Dung Verei Festival is a ni-Vanuatu celebration of the Land and the life of the islands. The Festival is a time to unite and work together by listening to the storytelling and sound of the tradition of our culture.
The festival brings together communities of the Torba Province and the Banks Islands in the North of Vanuatu. Vanuatu consists of many different island communities each with a unique wealth of kastom: stories, music, dance, food preparation and cultural practices such as carving, weaving and also the creation of local currencies. The festival is a real opportunity for creative demonstrations of cultural practices and for people to engage in dialogue and learning with other communities in a celebration of the many languages of the island.
We need funding!
We ask for assistance that we may achieve our ambitions for October 2021. The funding will support community members across Vanuatu who are participating in cultural revival to attend the meeting and share precious kastom together. This includes groups of people from the Banks and Torres Islands: all custodians of different lineages and creative practices.
Sandy Sur - a community leader and artist at the Leweton Cultural Community - has been working on the organisation of the Dung Verei Festival for the last three years. He is also coordinating a media art project throughout the festival with the Vanuatu Cultural Centre that records story, music, singing and rich conversations of cultural wisdom.
The funding will support Sandy and the Leweton Community to work with Richard Shing at the Vanuatu Cultural Centre and a ni-Vanuatu video production team. The creative recording work is to be created by ni-Vanuatu film makers and art workers.
Funding will pay for:
- transport for communities to attend the Dung Verei Festival
- local curation and management of the programme
- ni-Vanuatu video professional and interviewer
- ni-Vanuatu photographer to document the day
- creation of a website in coordination with the Vanuatu Cultural Centre to share the documentation with other Vanuatu communities.
We will complete documentation within 3 months of the completion of the festival activities and keep updating this page with more details on the production tasks that your donations will fund as the work develops.
Support ni-Vanuatu creativity!
Together, we can invest in community-rooted, transformative cultural work, to support spaces for joy, healing, shared learning and sovereignty.
The Dung Verei is a community offering coordinated by the Leweton Cultural Community and partnering with Vanuatu Cultural Centre, a body that looks after cultural heritage across Vanuatu. It is supported by a transnational consortium across Vanuatu, Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand and UK, including Meeting of the Waters: Locative Media Oceania, Loving Waters, World Unity Week, Weaving Connection and TreeCreate.
Project leader: Sandy Sur
sandy at lewetonculturalcommunity dot com
A small investment of cash can be a massive contribution to this vital work with cultural heritage. We also ask for connections that may lead to ongoing sponsorship and support for this ni-Vanuatu Festival and welcome connections from your networks.
Thank you for supporting this vital work of renewal.
Sandy and the Leweton Cultural Community