Hoot Blog

Get involved in Vanuatu's arts and crafts scene

Part of the fun of visiting a new country is getting absolutely wrapped up in its culture. Entire days can be lost (but well spent) strolling through markets and checking out the local goods. You can touch all the fabrics and smell all the foods, but for art lovers, the real prize is exploring the vibrant colours of the local arts and crafts. You can tell a lot about a country from the stories artists capture in their work. Everything from the colours they use to the images they paint or sculpt are indicative of the environment the art was produced in.

Let's explore some of the amazing arts and crafts that you'll run into on your Pacific island getaway!

Drawings and paintings 

Artists in Vanuatu capture the stories and lessons that have been carried down for generations. Of course, some of the oldest paintings include petroglyphs and rock drawings within caves around the island - well worth investigating if you're up for a hike (or a trip to the museum)! These images capture everything from the heritage of the islanders to the beautiful scenery of island life itself. You can catch some of these works of art in local markets around the country.

Basket weaving

Basket weaving is an art form taken up traditionally by females. The women of Vanuatu start as young girls and use various materials to weave baskets for food storage and gathering, as well as for home decor and even clothing! The patterns vary in both weave and colour depending on their intended purpose. They're something you need to check out for yourself for sure. This special tradition is still carried out in the towns around the island, so you can still go find a keepsake for your trip home.

Jewellery and mask making

Jewellery and mask making are some of Vanuatu's most unique forms of arts and crafts. The shell necklaces and ankle rattles (aka anklets), headdresses and masks all fall under the jewellery category of arts and crafts. Generations ago, these traditional crafts were hand-made for ritual ceremonies - some of which are still performed to this day. The masks were designed to represent the faces of ancestral spirits. The jewellery was detail for the rest of the costumes. But now you can pick up these pieces for a one-of-a-kind souvenir.

Feeling inspired to get your inner artist on? Find a place to express yourself in Vanuatu! There are countless inspirational spots where you can post up for an afternoon of basket weaving, jewellery making or painting.