Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Sacred Spaces and Multicultural Celebration

No, it's not my living room.  I wish!  It embodies everything I admire...... theatrical, colourful, homely, imaginative, a touch of gaudy kitch.  Love it!  We were at the Historical Village on 17th Avenue in Tauranga to see the Cultural Festival and chanced upon this cozy little barn. It just beckoned to us and once inside, I was suddenly drawn to the whimsical corner which embodied such a homely feel.  There was a work space, exhibition zone and this little social corner.  Well done to the people who crafted this lovely space.

At home, blending in.  Spot the author.
What struck me was that this amazing space was created by discarded junk.  Things that people no longer needed, and they were lovingly grouped and placed to create the loveliest of welcoming spaces.  There were a couple of stage props, probably rescued from the theater at the top of 17th Ave.  Out front, we discovered a yarn-bombed piano to tickle the ivories on.  While in this sacred place, we heard many people take a seat and start to play.  Some sophisticated tunes of well-seasoned players, and other simpler, child-common tunes that everyone learns to play whilst young and enthusiastic, like "Chopsticks".  The whole place quietly screamed: "Gypsy Rose".  Inspirational.
Soft, warm tunes tickling the ivories

Right at home among all this gypsy paraphernalia

Social commentary artwork hanging on the wall

The work spaces were divided by discarded wooden pallets.  Perfect use of an item destined for landfill.  It was possible a half hour later when my long-suffering husband reminded me that we were really there to see the multicultural festival that was taking place a few feet away from this little barn.  Reluctantly, I peeled myself away to check out the colour and flair of all the ethnic groups that make up Tauranga.

An arty chess set awaits players

This was one of my eye candies.  I couldn't get enough of it.

Man-behind-bars, aka Long-Suffering Husband
The multicultural festival was all I remembered it to be 10 years ago.  Loud.  Busy.  An assault of the senses as stall holders jostle side by side for business as they ply their cultural culinary trade.  We walked the sustenance ranks and decided upon Nepalese lunch, followed by Cook Island dessert of poko, a sweet jelly-like dessert.  The festival stage was filled with ethnic groups doing their thang, with noisy MC on loudspeaker encouraging the crowd to clap enthusiastically.  All just a little too much for me.  Some entertainment looked authentic, but I somehow cringed at others, like the pale-skinned women with long hair wigs doing sexy belly dance moves in their glamorous middle-eastern see-though caftans!  Just doesn't do it for me.  Go to the classes, enjoy, but keep it there or in the bedroom.  
(Note to Self:  Party Pooper!)

Natural resources for these costumes

There was a stall representing our home country, South Africa.  3 middle-aged men standing over a gas barbecue (since when??) braaing (actual term for SA BBQ) vleis (meat) and boerewors (literal translation.... farmer's sausage).  As vegetarians, the smell of searing flesh forced us to give a wide berth to avoid all contact.  So we never did get to feel at home. Ethnically speaking, we feel more of a pull to the Indian stall.  Or Nepalese.  Close enough. 

And the moral of the story:  it was a great outing.  I went to see the Multicultural festival but ended up falling in love with a barn.  You never know what life will throw at you!

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