I got a reminder the other day that I’ve been blogging with WordPress for seven years. I found my first post on my first blog and see that whilst so much has evolved, my politics are relatively unchanged.
I’ve received food and emails, text messages and phone calls to offer support and comfort after a week of word wars generated from my outspoken commentary of things that happened at the Pacific Arts Association (PAA) 11th International Symposium. I’ve spoken at length with my friends and family about loyalties, change, challenge and values. Accountability to audiences and funders has been thoroughly scrutinised in the past two weeks both online and off.
The next PAA International Symposium will take place in three years time in Auckland, a compelling context to this forum of dialogue. In various conversations with members of the PAA Executive Committee, I’ve expressed excitement for the fact that Auckland has the potential to make Aotearoa’s Pacific community visible and truly relevant. With the Pacific on Auckland’s doorstep, the next PAA International Symposium also has the potential to draw on the real movers and shakers of the Pacific art world, those who locate their practices, thinking and loyalties in the Pacific proper, and within the realm of Pacific people.
I watched Associate Professor Damon Salesa from the University of Auckland deliver a groundbreaking public presentation earlier this year. He introduced the notion of segregation within the consideration of Auckland as a Pacific city. His presentation exposed the heart and nerves of Pacific Island struggle, representation and social development in Aotearoa. Read more here.
In a recent interview for The Pantograph Punch, Samoan writer Daniel Satele referenced Salesa’s idea of social segregation with regards to my efforts to privilege Pacific audiences in the presentation of Pacific art and ideas. Having my position and curatorial practice questioned and abused over the past few days, I feel even more comfort in knowing that understanding, serving and feeding into the social development of Pacific people is where my heart and energies lie.
The next PAA International Symposium in Auckland will be great; I’m not sure if it’s the right forum for me, but I can certainly see a lively and robust programme of complementary events that will undoubtedly secure Auckland’s rightful place as a hub for Pacific art production, appreciation and dialogue.