Yesterday we followed an invitation to the opening of a week-long Tongan Culture festival at the Mangere Arts Centre. The idea of the festival is to bring together Tongan artists and to encourage young Tongans to express their art with confidence.
“Matala” is a Tongan word signifying the opening of a flower – here the hope that this first get-together of Tongan artists will develop greater momentum. Apart from the obligatory speeches, the focus of the occasion was a Kava ceremony surrounded by traditional performance of dance and music.
Also at the Mangere Arts Centre (until October 22) is a survey exhibition of work by Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi, an established Tongan sculptor — about which we will post tomorrow.