Google Meets ICH

Young Tongan girls dressed in dresses made of ngatu © Melemanu Bloomfield

In 2016, ICHCAP signed a partnership with the Google Cultural Institute to showcase Asia-Pacific ICH online. Considering the vastness of the region, the project began with an initiative to exhibit Pacific ICH first. Seven teams participated in the exhibition, which was unveiled at the 2017 Network Meeting for ICH Safeguarding in the Pacific that was held in Palau earlier this year. The exhibition includes Palau’s rich heritage in nature and culture, ngatu (traditional barkcloth) of Tonga, and inspired crafts of Samoa. The exhibition, which consists of various images and familiar stories, is featured on the Google Arts & Culture website.

Google Arts & Culture is an online exhibition platform provided by Google to showcase cultural heritage and artwork from all around the world. Thus far, a thousand arts and culture institutions from seventy countries have partnered with Google to display digital materials online. ICHCAP signed a partnership in 2016. The Pacific exhibition is unique in that the curators have selected exhibits with practitioner communities to deliver the communities’ perspectives. The images and videos on display bring the lifestyle of local communities and cultural heritage of the Pacific vividly to life.

Pacific islanders have well-preserved their traditional culture; however, their cultural heritage is relatively unfamiliar to outsiders. Through the exhibition, ICHCAP hopes to provide an opportunity to access ICH easily and conveniently and deliver its meaning and value via the voice of local communities. It also made a coloring book with images from the exhibition to ignite interest among the youth. The coloring book is available on ICHCAP’s website.