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(September 18-26, 2010)

Ned Chiariello

The Chase Tower

Richard Chesher

New Caledonia 2010 Crossroads

Noumea, New Caledonia

September 24, 2010, 9:01 am

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© 2010 Richard Chesher, All Rights Reserved.

This is New Caledonia Day 2010 in Noumea just following the 4th Melanesian Arts Festival. New Caledonia Day—also called Citizen Day—celebrates the unity of the people of this culturally diverse group of islands in the South Pacific.

About one third of the population are Melanesian and during the past week they were joined by traditional artists and dancers from Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji to celebrate Melanesian traditional and contemporary arts.

In this memory sphere you can look around and see the flags and delegations of all the countries of Melanesia clustered around a mat covered with gifts. This is the "Coutume" ceremony where gifts of respect are offered with sincere oratory of regard for the participants and their guests.

New Caledonia, on this day, was the crossroads of Melanesia's search for their future identity. The festival's organizers said, "In choosing Jean-Marie Tjibaou’s words ‘Our identity lies ahead of us’ as the festival theme, New Caledonia seeks to promote the image of a Melanesia nurtured by its traditions and facing the future."
Canon 7D with Sigma 8mm lens on a Manfroto monopod held up to see over the top of the heads of the crowd. The camera was triggered with a wireless remote. The 14 images were miraculously stitched together by Autopano Pro with hardly a single mistake despite the constant movement of people and the fact that I was hand holding the camera almost two meters over my head and turning it around clicking at more or less regular intervals.

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