Himself and I visited the Pacificus festival in the summer of 2015. The event took place on the site of the former gasworks in Amsterdam, a location new to me and a delight to anyone interested in architecture. As we are leaving we come across a café at the end of the series of buildings, and whilst we are not stopping to eat or drink there, the quirky details around the café catch my eye and of course my camera.
February 24, 2016
February 23, 2016
The highlight of our 2015 summer visit to the Pacificus festival in Amsterdam were of course, the dancing displays.
The mood was relaxed with the crowds of visitors being drawn away from the stalls and other exhibits to stand four or five or more deep around the dancing area.
Some knew the songs and sang along, in true Pacific island style it was very informal, both a good and bad thing for photographers because people thought nothing of walking in front of the camera as I tried to film the action.
To any observer who is unaware of how things work in the Pacific, this utterly unstructured way of doing things and the fact the kids wandered wherever they wanted without apparent thought to others would seem very rude indeed, but it’s exactly the way that things are done in the Pacific.
Ceremonies and dancing can cover hours or days for special events so kids wander in and out of the Mwaneaba / marae / Wharenui / Au / Meeting House/ (all of these terms mean a large meeting hall central to every Pacific island community, the name of this hall changes with every nation within the Pacific but it’s function and importance stays the same).
This relaxed way of wandering in and out of the action can be very frustrating to European cultures but is completely accepted in Pacific Island ones, it’s just a matter of being aware of how different cultures work. The dancing displays the amazing and intricate movements, the fitness of the dancers and the gap that has been bridged between traditional and modern musical styles.
February 22, 2016
No Pacific island gathering is ever complete without dancing.
The music is a combination of contemporary and traditional, drums feature heavily in providing the beat and the dances are elaborate, with moves and gestures having individual meaning.
Many start to learn these moves in childhood, songs too are passed down though the family with many generations often singing and dancing together.
In the summer of 2015, in the Pacificus festival that took place in Amsterdam’s former gasworks, Himself and I were treated to a brilliant exhibition of both Island singing and dancing.
Every piece of the costumes also have special meaning and sometimes some items such as arm bands are handed down through the generations.
The dancing is certainly something to keep you fit, it’s both relaxing yet complicated, rhythmic yet serene, melodic yet powerful.
Himself and I both love listening and watching Pacific island nations dance, each nation may have their own variations, but it’s like regional branches of a shared language and the underling pulse says “Pacific” to the core.
The series of photographs here are fairly sequential, so if you scroll down a tiny bit quickly you will sort of see these ladies “dance” for you…
February 21, 2016
Still at the Pacificus festival that took place in the summer of 2015, Himself and I progress to the many market stalls between the two rows of buildings that are part of the former gasworks of Amsterdam. (I had some lovely close ups of the products but can’t find the camera chip containing them, If I do, I will add them later).
February 20, 2016
Back in the summer of 2015, Himself and I spent a Saturday visiting the Pacificus festival in Amsterdam. The festival took place in a small section of the former Amsterdam gasworks, where there are many beautiful brick buildings. One of these buildings houses the area where people have been signing a large sign, a tattoo demonstration, with the rest of the area being used to display artworks that are for sale. The large rectangle standing pieces are quite hard to photograph because they have been made on reflective material, some of the other pieces are paintings. Let’s take a look…
February 19, 2016
Last year Himself and I attended the “Pacificus” weekend in Amsterdam. We didn’t actually go for the whole weekend, just the Saturday but were delighted to see that something that brings the nations of the Pacific together is something that we can attend here in Europe. The name “Pacificus” comes from the idea of “Pacific-Us” , that the ” we” of each nation also comes under the banner of all of “us” from the Pacific. In the background of yesterday’s post there can be seen a table that not only advertises the talents of some Pacific island tattooists but also shows some of them at work. Since this is the closest I am ever, ever going to get to a tattooists needle, I take the opportunity to take a few photographs.
February 18, 2016
So far this week I have been teasing you with photographs of the former gasworks in Amsterdam.
Whilst I find the brickwork and architecture of it and the surrounding buildings both outstanding and droolworthy, the physical site is not the reason we are here.
We have come to attend the first ever “Pacificus” weekend in Amsterdam.
Pacificus is an organisation that brings Pacific Island groups, families and friends together to enjoy all things related to the Pacific ocean and the island nations within it.
Himself and I have both travelled to various Pacific island nations and still have close contact with some old friends from those days.
It’s this network of friends that drew our attention to the Kiribati School and Centre for Children with Special Needs and our ongoing efforts to fundraise for the school so that their meagre aid budget can be supplemented for urgently needed things, like the wage for a part time nurse to come and oversee and administer medication (as limited as that medication might be).
We try and raise funds so that the kids can be assured of one warm meal per day, their diet consists of rice and vegetables, day in day out, plus some fish if someone is kind enough to catch one for them.
With a school originally built for 45 disabled children now catering to the needs of 128 (their website has not been updated recently and only lists 101) the resources are understandably stretched very thinly indeed.
Himself and I have come to not only enjoy the various displays, market stalls and traditional dancing but also to network a little and hopefully spread support for this little school far off the beaten track and very, very far from the eyes of large donors.
Back in the summer of 2015, the day was surprisingly warm so ducking into the shade of one building where we see signs and hear music we find some people clustered around a large board, onto which has been written in bold letters “Pacificous” and attendees are being encouraged to leave messages in the negative space around the letters to record their presence and remark on what they think about what is on offer here.
Himself and I make a very brief and modest entry if the other entries are anything to go by, but of course we haven’t yet seen much so who knows, we may get back later and extend our entry. The atmosphere is very “Pacific Island” in that it’s uber relaxed and there are lots of friendly smiling faces, even for strangers such as ourselves.