The last 48 hours have been a blur.
I’m in Vancouver, preparing to speak at the Pacific Arts Associational (PAA) International Symposium at the University of British Columbia this week. Leilani and my first stop from the airport was the Musqueam Indian Reserve; our savvy native tour guide, Terry Point, gave us insights into the politics of land ownership, the background of the impressive new Musqueam Recreation Centre and Cultural Centre and the loss of language. There’s something about being on native land, something that feels like home – it was the perfect way to be introduced to Vancouver.
As the speakers, energy and culture of this Symposium start to manifest around us, I’m reminded of my responses to the last gathering in 2010. I wrote this response at the time; it was inspired by a particularly disempowering experience and generated excellent conversations around the politics of this gathering and the interface of practitioners and scholars, Pacific and non-Pacific.
Whilst I’ve made my position known, and my anti-elitist, grassroots politics have the potential to rub institutional minds the wrong way, Leilani keeps reminding me why it’s important that we’re here.
I love reading Luvvie Ajayi‘s writing and have taken up the challenge to blog everyday in August as part of her #31WriteNow challenge!
I’m always in the throws of multiple simultaneous art projects, and August will be a cocktail of travel, speaking engagements, event planning, pitching and assignment writing. I’m drawn to the #31WriteNow challenge because I’m 31 right now, and life is pretty good!
I’ve come to the tail end of the #2girls1conference fundraising campaign – an epic journey with my art ally, Leilani Kake. Through crowdfunding, hand-printed art t-shirts and an amazing art auction, we managed to raise NZ$8000 in two months! We hosted our final event last night – an opportunity for our community here in South Auckland to hear the papers we’re delivering next week at the Pacific Arts Association (PAA) 11th International Symposium in Vancouver. It was a good night – we loved situating that kind of event / discourse right at the grassroots and we’re super grateful to the Otara Scorpions for hosting us. Thanks also to Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai, the other PAA speaker from South Auckland, who also delivered her paper last night. Kolokesa is sharp as a knife; the kind of curator I’m proud to be associated with!
Leilani and I are so excited to be leaving for Canada this weekend. Despite this not being a holiday, it’ll just be nice to get out of New Zealand albeit briefly. I still want to see a bear, but I’m not sure if that will make it onto the itinerary.
I’ve been thinking about acknowledging all the people who contributed to the #2girls1conference campaign – I’m compiling the list. It’s pretty massive. I’ll be blogging everyday in August, so watch this space!