Two consultants recommended by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) are in the country to help locals in their preparation for the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts 2012 to be hosted by Solomon Islands.

Rhoda Roberts and Terri Janke, invited by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism through SPC, are here to hold talks with the Culture Division and people responsible for the festival to set plans.

Ms. Janke is a consultant with the World Intellectual Property organization and Ms. Roberts is the Festival Director of the Dreaming Festival.

"The time to act is now because 2012 is just around the corner," the Director of Culture Division, Robert Au, told a press conference in Honiara last Thursday.

He said that Solomon Islands hosting the 2012 Arts Festival is the government's commitment and "work must be done as soon as possible".

An expected 27 countries around the Pacific will be in the Solomons to participate.

Mr. Au said the visit of the two consultants is very important, as they are both here with their vast knowledge, which would help organizers in their preparations for the festival.

Meanwhile, Ms. Janke told Solomon Times that the Pacific Arts Festival is "a time for sharing each other's cultural heritage and traditional identity."

Ms. Janke is here to assist with advice on copyright of all artifacts that will be displayed during the festival.

"This is to ensure that all the things that will be displayed during the Arts Festival have copyrights," she said.

She adds that copyright on items will ensure that things on display at the festival will not be stolen.

Ms. Janke said that copyright allows people to negotiate in order to host a good festival.

"Copying other people's work is not good because it will not put a good reflection on those who are actual creators of an item."

She stressed that copyright must be applied in order to protect cultural heritage and traditional identity.

Also speaking to Solomon Times, Ms. Roberts said the festival is like the Pacific's cultural Olympics.

She said there will be a lot of opportunities for the local artists after the Arts Festival.

Ms. Roberts said that the event will be a time for Pacific Islanders to showcase their talents and cultural heritage.

She highlighted that there are many foreigners who do not realize that Solomon Islands have diverse culture "so the festival is the time to showcase the diversity in your country."

Ms. Roberts adds that 2012 will be "truly an amazing experience for Solomon Islanders therefore in order to make a good festival, preparation should start taking place right now."