LAST Saturday was a night to remember. A night where the raw beauty of untapped talent was exposed.
A night where cultural pride, national identity, individuality and innovation left everyone in the audience speechless and inspired.
The first ever Vision City talent show held at Pacific Adventist University exploded in colours way beyond expectations.
Talented painters who had never showed their works to a wide audience paraded them with pride.
Gifted sketchers, who mostly draw in the shades of solitude, plied their trade before a captivated crowd.
Fine poets for the first time were challenged to read their rhymes above the applause of an appreciative audience.
And the voice of singers never before heard enchanted all who were there to listen.
With more than 20 contestants vying for first prize in four different categories, the performers and artists did not fail to keep the crowd enthralled.
Throughout the night, individuals contested in four categories: singing, sketching, painting and poetry.
Every artistic pursuit had a theme. The songs were written to suggest Sounds of Yesteryear. Sketching was on The Journey of Development, capturing PNG’s progress over the last 40 years. Painters were challenged to capture our identity through Culture in Colours. And the poets had to write on Gems of Papua New Guinea, sparkles of our rich tradition.
A total of eight judges critiqued, evaluated and eventually reached decisions.
Warea Karayo strummed his way to the CHM award for singing with his song Called to Be. Along with K200 prize money, he also picked up a an electric guitar and a solar panel from CHM.
Timothy Thomas also wowed the judges with his oil-based portrait, earning him K200 and a gift pack from Star Office.
Elvie Yabo won a bead necklace from Jules Collins Jewellery as first prize in poetry, along with the usual K200.
Musician Warea Karayo said he had always wanted to sing but had lacked confidence.
"The talent show gave me an opportunity to sing on stage and build my confidence,” he said.
Moab Ono, who came third in sketching, shared similar sentiments.
“I always knew I had the ability and the passion but I had never really gone out and done it. Now that I have and won something, I’ll keep at it.”
The Vision City talent show was brainchild of a few students regretting the lack of opportunities available for exposing creative flair and it was the first of its kind to be held on campus.
Many people, both participants and spectators, were thankful that such an opportunity was provided for individuals to explore and share their creativity.
Vision City contributed K7,250 towards the talent show with the megamall’s general manager Anderson Ting insisting that the program lead in to the Independence Day celebration to be held at Vision City on 16 September.
The winners of each category will be invited to join the celebration with winning entries for painting and sketching displayed at the new Stanley Hotel.
“Vision City is for the people of Papua New Guinea,” said Anderson Ting. “We are happy to support the culture and development of this nation.”
The opening featured a spectacular display array of fireworks. In his welcome address, the university’s director of student services Pastor Thomas Davai Sr commended the students for coming up with the initiative.
He also thanked Vision City management for coming forward as the sponsor.
“The enthusiasm with which Vision City latched onto the program is mind-boggling,” said Conrad Stanis, chairperson of the organising committee. “We are so privileged to have a company like Vision City that’s eager to support local talent and promote traditional culture.”
“We need to explore, express and expose our talents because our talents reflect our individuality and our identity,” said spokesperson Wardley Barry. “Talent is what makes a human being more than just a person, it makes us individuals.
“The great civilisations have their roots in art. Art played a significant role in their thinking and influenced their industry. It pushed them beyond their limits. And when we are pushed beyond our limits, we innovate.
“We need that! Papua New Guinea, being a developing nation, needs that. We need to capture our culture and embrace our heritage through art.”
“I’ve been here for two years and have never seen such a worthwhile social program,” said student Ronald Haihavu. “It made us come out of the closet to pursue our talents and put them out for all to see. I never knew we had such great writers, painters and sketchers.”
Student Association vice-president, Kokah Goru, said: “The program was mind-boggling and allowed students to show their God-given talents and I was amazed to see students who were shy step up and perform extremely well.
“Students were given picture of Vision City megamall and the Stanley Hotel and were challenged to capture them in pencil. It took them only three hours to come up with a tremendous job and everyone went “wow!”
“Poetry was another art form that took me by surprise. As a student leader, I would like to see more avenues created for poetry. The talents exposed through these avenues can empower young Papua New Guineans. When these young people are empowered, they will be able to build the nation.”
One of the judges, teaching assistant Barry Abel, was excited by the raw talent on display but said there was room for improvement in the stage performances.
With the inaugural talent show being such a success and Vision City hinting at their willingness to support the concept next year, it is hoped the program can be improved and expanded.
In the meantime, the winners of the first ever Vision City talent show are pumped up to ply their trade live come Independence Day.