Launch of the ‘Nora Vagi Brash Amphitheater’

By Oala Moi

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National Museum and Art Gallery located next to the Papua New Guinea Parliament House at Waigani welcomed its refurbished outdoor amphitheatre this evening (Wednesday 3 December 2014).

What was 12 months ago an eyesore for Museum staff and patrons was brought back to life thanks to National Government funding.
Minister for Tourism Arts and Culture Boka Kondra was guest of honour, and opened the facility.
“I launch the Museum’s rehabilitated amphitheatre and name it the Nora Vagi Brash Amphitheatre”, Mr Kondra said.

Mr Kondra pleaded with the Museum and artists to use the amphitheatre and help the National Government revive Papua New Guinea’s contemporary cultural heritage.

The amphitheatre was named after Nora Vagi Brash in recognition of a person Mr Kondra branded as “this exceptional woman and thinker”.

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In his speech, Mr Kondra singled out Board of Trustees President Julius Violaris and Museum Director Dr Andrew Moutu as two great leaders that have “not only tried to rebuild this facility; they have also proposed to name it after one of our most prominent female thinkers: NORA VAGI BRASH.”

Mr Kondra said that Nora’s work is “groundbreaking and timeless” and the “work of a pioneer female writer which had mirrored the growing pains of a newly independent Papua New Guinea” at the time.

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Nora Vagi Brash is a playwright, poet, teacher, and outstanding citizen for her contribution to the Arts in Papua New Guinea. Nora has written 14 plays and 4 of them are:

– Which Way Big Man?
– Taurama
– High Cost of Living Differently
– Black Market Buai

Nora won the Independence Medal in 1985 for her play Taurama, and her poetry has featured in numerous journals and publications.
Nora has attended more than a dozen conferences and workshops internationally to share her work. She was also one of two artistic directors at the PNG National Theatre Company.
Nora was the deputy chairperson for what was known as the PNG National Cultural Council, and a former board member of the Institute of PNG Studies.
Mr Kondra also acknowledged then Chief Minister (now Grand Chief Sir) Michael Somare from pre-Independent Papua New Guinea and former Australian Prime Minister the late (Grand Chief) Gough Whitlam whose combined leadership four decades ago allowed present Papua New Guinea to inherit a Museum rich with significant bits and pieces of our cultural heritage.

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