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CHAmoru cultural exhibition opens at the national museum in Spain | Way of life


(University of Guam) – A recently opened exhibition titled “Biba CHAmoru” at the Museo Nacional de Antropologia / National Anthropology Museum in Madrid presents the contemporary CHAmoru history and culture of Guam and the Mariana Islands.

The initiative was launched by the museum in Spain as part of the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the earth – the Magellan-Elcano expedition to Spain from 1519 to 1522 – in coordination with Carlos Madrid, director of research from the Micronesian Area Research Center at the University of Guam, and UOG professors David Atienza and Melissa Taitano.

The exhibition, which is accompanied by a book entitled “I Estoria-ta: Guam, the Mariana Islands and Chamorro Culture”, offers a journey through the main historical periods of the Mariana Islands, then looks at the main identity traits and various artistic expressions of the CHAmoru culture.

“We wanted to give international exposure to contemporary CHAmoru artistic expressions and provide a platform for the promotion of tourism, potential investments and exchanges,” said Madrid.

Three woodcarvings by Taitano are the centerpieces of the exhibition as well as works by renowned artists Ric Castro and Sal Bidaure.

High-resolution photographs taken by Guam Museum Curator Michael Lujan Bevacqua show murals painted in different parts of Guam and original artifacts from Spanish collections. Local cultural agent Roman de la Cruz d’Acho Marianas and Sandra Okada, executive director of Traditions Affirming Our Seafaring Ancestry, as well as Guampedia, Raph Unpingco and production company Mighty Island, among others, also exhibited material.

The main contributor from the Northern Mariana Islands is Leo G. Pangelinan, Executive Director of the Northern Mariana Humanities Council.

The book includes texts by Anne Hattori, Robert A. Underwood, Laura Torres Souder, Joe Quinata, Rlene Steffy, among others. An English version is available for download at https://www.libreria.culturaydeporte.gob.es/libro/i-estoria-ta-guam-the-mariana-islands-and-chamorro-culture_5373/.

“[The exhibition and the book] allow us to disembark in the Mariana Islands, to discover their history and to get to know their people, their identity and their cultural diversity ”, declared Miquel Iceta i Llorens, Spanish Minister of Culture and Sports, in the preface of the book . “And they give us the opportunity to revise the version we have always taken for granted of the history of the archipelago.”

The initiative was fully funded by the Spanish government through different institutions and universities. The exhibition will remain open until March 6.

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