Traditional Lime Pot made from a
gourd which has been smoked
over the fire then scraped
to form intricate patterns.
The lid is made out of a pig's tusk
and tightly rolled banana leaves.
In Milne Bay,Trobriand Islanders are well known for many things, most notably for their Yam Festival, their famous and very provocative "Tapioca" dance, their loud and boisterous manner and their carvings which are quite unique. For some reason memories of being encircled by a group of very excited (and I mean EXCITED) Trobriand male dancers comes to mind. Yes, now I recall, that was at the closing dinner for the SPREP conference a few years back.
I find Trobriand Islanders to be very open about their sexuality, more so than people from other parts of the province. Theirs is certainly a fascinating culture and although I'm from Milne Bay, I still have so much to learn about the many different cultures in our province. One thing I've noticed is that when there's a big event or cultural festival on, The Trobriand Islanders usually get the loudest cheers. They are often the highlight not only because their costumes are bright red and eye-catching but also because they are highly entertaining to watch.
Whenever we host a conference or we have guests in house, you can be sure to find several Trobriand men sitting under a tree in the yard selling their wares. While I don't mind most of the time, sometimes they can really test your patience. Like when they sit around till 6pm even though they can see there's no one around to sell to!! Anything for a sale.
Here's a warning too. If you buy something from them, don't be surprised if they keep coming back week after week after week to sell even more carvings to you. Unfortunately at times there just aren't enough tourists here to sell their wares to, so it can be pretty tough for them. Check out some of the amazing carvings they produce.