Many of the arts and crafts on the island of Nauru have been lost over time. As the islanders moved toward modernity, the traditional arts unfortunately fell to the wayside. And since Nauru is one of the least visited countries in the world, there isn’t that much of a tourist industry pushing for local arts to sell to tourists.
However, like other island cultures, woodcarvings and various woven arts and textiles are often used for various purposes in their daily lives. For many of their arts and crafts, they use the wood from the kokospalme. Various articles of clothing and fans are often made from the kokosfasern and uses sheets from the screw tree. Their designs tend to be geometrical and somewhat resemble the designs of other areas of Southeast Asia.
Nauruan culture has changed over the past few centuries—Western culture has influenced it to the point of erasing parts of their own traditions. Although literacy on Nauru is 97%, there isn’t even a daily newspaper. There are a few weekly publications, though. There’s now a campus of the University of the South Pacific on the island, but many students still opt to attend school in Australia. The Dept of Ed did publish a Nauruan dictionary and a history of the island from the point of view of the Nauruans. Through programs linked to the university, writers are often encouraged to write more stories and poems.
There really isn’t a lot of information out there on current authors from Nauru. But thanks to one of my favorite blogs to read, A Year of Reading the World, her efforts brought a few authors to light. If you’re looking for a few Nauruan authors, I would suggest the book Stories from Nauru. This book and others are written in English. (I’m not exactly sure how much literature is actually written in Nauruan.) It includes short stories from several authors including Ben Bam Solomon, Elmina Quadina, Eston Thoma, Pamela Scriven, Jerielyn Jeremiah, Lucia Bill, and Makerita Va’ai.
Up next: music and dance