Christmas Grafitti translates the Bethlehem event into the culture of Vanuatu

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Comments (3)

Тилигузов Сергей on December 12, 2007

For the first time I see Bethlehem story so harmoniously transformed to cultural traditions of this amazing folk. In this picture there are no elements alien to their culture. And that is perfect.


Ian Stehbens on December 12, 2007

Hi Sergej,

You are a very appreciative audience. What you say is true. That is why the sheep and the camel are both painted in grey as silhouette - for they don't belong here, but they are connections with the original event that is depicted. The tamtam pole is used, when beaten, to summon the village to a meeting called by the chief. The conch shell is blown to announce good news such as the arrival of a special person, the conch blower is wearing the clothes of the chief's messenger (angel perhaps). The small girls bring the gift of dolls to say to the receiver that we are like little people in your presence (humility and deference); the finely woven mats represent the finest and best gift one can give; and the dress is part of a traditional gift for reconciliation. There was no guest house available so the infant was laid in a coastal lily. (See another photo earlier in my folio where I photographed a child in a lily). The dog is ubiquitous in every village in Vanuatu, and the chickens are important. The ground is strewn with coral pieces (in Bethlehem the ground is limestone, also). Above the door are the leaves of the namele fern, that is used as the sign of peace in Vanuatu and is also found on their national flag. A team of young people painted this grafitti - I was the designer - and it was done in the style of much ni Vanuatu art - in 2 dimensions. It was a gift to the village of Ifira from the team of young people from Australia who lived in this guest house during Christmas 2005. You no doubt have seen in my folio, a different Christmas art presentation in preparation in another village, called Mangaliliu. The Ifira presentation is from Matthew; the Mangaliliu painting is from Luke.

Blessings, Ian

Тилигузов Сергей on December 12, 2007

Thank you for your detailed comment. I've learned a lot of new and interesting. Unfortunately I haven't had time to see all your gallery. But with the God's help I shall necessarily make it. Your gallery represents the big interest for me.


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Photo details

  • Uploaded on December 10, 2007
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens
    • Camera: Canon EOS 20D
    • Taken on 2005/12/31 10:12:31
    • Exposure: 0.006s (1/160)
    • Focal Length: 17.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/9.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO400
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash