ROSE MCALLISTER

Only three hours north of Brisbane the Solomon Islands can be found. Having travelled to this country in 2018, I was struck by the landscape and culture.

The Solomons has over 900 islands, six major islands, and is divided into 9 provinces, each having their own culture and language.

We have to respect and be culturally sensitive to the needs and expectations and all of the provinces, as each has lived relatively in isolation from each other.

The country was named Solomon Islands after the wealthy biblical King Solomon. It is said that they were given this name in the mistaken assumption that they contained great riches. From my experience the Solomon Islands does contain riches, but ones much different than what we perceive in the Western world.

The works created have been influenced by the time I spent in the Solomons. There is a richness and strong bond in relationships with each other and in their Christian faith. The country in many ways is divided from each other and separated from the rest of the world, but still has a strong sense of community and vibrantly celebrates this life through sacred rituals and traditions.

Visions stay in my mind of the colours, smells and liveliness of the daily fruit and vegetable market in Honiara. The birds eye view of the archipelago, the different tints and shades of blue as we flew North-West. The Betel nut stained streets which look like a murder scene. The island which is only an airstrip. The flight from Kaghua to Honiara which saw us caught in a storm, rain pouring into the cockpit, trying to land three time and then eventually diverting to Auki as we nearly ran out of fuel. The rainy journey to the turtle conservation island, where we were witness to hundreds of turtles making their way to the open ocean. Ringing of the bells on the Island of Wagina to bring the community to together each morning for mass and at the end of the day for Rosary.  The welcoming ceremony and the energy and spirit of their dance.

The experience provided me with an opportunity to reflect on the post-modern, technological driven, consumeristic state of existence, which the West is part of.

Many people live in a wants reality, not a needs, based one. Western culture has brain washed us to believe our life will be better and we will be happier through consuming things and having stuff.

I question, what is most important in life and what makes us happy?