A CLIMATE CHANGE SANDROING
Hinge's sandroing dramatizes the role the moon, sand, earth, and ocean play in climate change.
Vanuatu sandroing (sand drawings) are geometric figures that are drawn on to the ground with the fingertips. Each design is a type of maze, which is traced as a continuous line, often without lifting the finger from the ground. This form of cultural expression is found in the central and northern islands of Vanuatu, priarily on Paama, Ambrym, Malakula, Pentecost, Ambae, and Maewo.
Describing them as 'drawings' is misleading, because they are more than simple pictures. Many ni-Vanuatu use the Mislama term 'raeting' rather than 'droing' to refer to the practice because it is thought of as a form of script that predates the introduction of European education. The indigenous words for sandroing (uli, naited, nitus, ghir, rolu, nana, ulan, etc.) are used for all kinds of meaningful mark-making practices, including things such as tattoos, string figures, carbed insignia, and also European writing.
In daily life, sandroing are used to leave messages, explain concepts, and teach children. They are often accompanied by stories or songs, and they are an important means of recording and communicating cultural practices. There are also sacred sandroing, which must be committed to memory and used as a type of password in order to gain access to the next life.
On Friday November 7 2003, UNESCO proclaimed Vanuatu sandroing to be a 'Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.' This international distinction honors the most remarkable examples of oral traditions and forms of cultural expression in all regions of the world. The UNESCO jury also awarded Vanuatu an additional prize as recognition of sandroing's outstanding cultural value, and to encourage the people of Vanuatu to sustain and foster this unique practice.
(kastom name, Mata Sangvulu) is from northern Pentecost Island, Vanuatu. He is a museum guide at the National Museum of Vanuatu. He teaches sandroing in primary classrooms at the Vanuatu Kastom School in Port Vila through the Friends of Vanuatu Museum.