The Veneta (Welcome) Fiesta: celebrating the world of Latin America, Portugal and Spain
From the moment I became passionate about writing I see life’s everyday happenings as stories. I have become an observer who wants to capture and record what is happening around me. I also make up stories about the people I see: such as the middle aged couple sitting in front of me on the train, or a young mother in a supermarket wheeling an empty pram. I give them lives that go beyond their wildest dreams. Therefore it was only a matter of time before the social event I was attending just for fun at the Frankston Art Precinct became fodder for my camera and my pen
I started snapping pictures and jotting odd notes into a small book I always carry about all the delicious sights, sounds and colours.
The Frankston Art Centre newsletter pinged into my inbox trumpeting the arrival once again of the South American Ventana (Welcome) Fiesta. This festival celebrates the vibrant world of Latin America, Portugal and Spain. Added to this was a promise of generous tastings of Spanish style wines made from grapes bought from Spain by the Crittenden Estate Vineyard on the Mornington Peninsula. Plus a buffet of gastronomical delights from the Americas.
On arrival, glass of red in hand, I was in heaven when plied with swordfish, fresh salmon, olives, cheese, pitta bread, dips, and to my delight, a plentiful supply of sweet-potato chips. The whole evening became even sweeter when I was informed that everything was free.
After trying all the culinary delights I was drawn to Jesus Moreta’s Conexion paintings. Bright, colourful, detailed and innovative they were prominently displayed along with many other talented artists. A feast for the eyes and the soul.
The dolls of the Q’ewar Project were delightful. This project began in early 2002 in the rural highlands of the Andes mountains in Peru, South America. The women of the Q’ewar Project live in extreme poverty and for most this is the first chance they will have to learn skills and earn money in a human and respectful working environment. Q’ewar has created an atmosphere which fosters self esteem, personal growth and a way to gain economic independence through learning life skills in a community setting.
About the dolls
I was told all the dolls are made using natural fibres. The interior is stuffed with pure sheep wool and the dolls’ hair is made from Alpaca yarn. The women card and spin the wool used in all facets of doll making and for knitting the dolls’ clothes. The women colour the hand dyed fibres with dye from indigenous plants.
When you buy a doll you are giving your support to the Q’ewar project, a social and economic initiative working with the indigenous women of the area. The dolls are distributed by Little chips Handcrafts Shop 5 372 Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd, Sassafras, Melbourne, Australia.
We were taken out of the art centre and into Cube 37 Gallery where fascinating masks leered at us from walls
A performance of the ancient traditional cocoa ritual left us spellbound.
At this moment my Iphone battery decided to die. A blessing in disguise as I sat back and soaked up the cultural experience.
The evening is still in my heart and in my mind. I came away with a sense of community and sharing and caring, my mind overflowing with brilliant colours and hypnotic dancing. Of arts and crafts, rituals, handicrafts and song and enough stories to keep me busy for weeks to come. Frankston’s boutique cultural festival VENTANA is now in its ninth year. This annual celebration of Latin American, Portuguese and Spanish cultures, people and stories aims to provide intimate and authentic experiences through dance, music, food, art, crafts, film, poetry, language, sports and educational workshops. This year’s events are dedicated to Afro Latin American cultural fusions! The Ventana Fiesta takes place in the Frankston and Carrum Downs Libraries, The Frankston Arts Centre, Frankston’s pristine Waterfront, White Street Mall, Wells Street and Wells Street Plaza during February and March 2015.