I only wrote 15 posts for the #31WriteNow blog challenge; it was hard and rewarding… but raw at times. August has been a month of travel, migraines, jet lag, art beef, heartwarming support, too many I-don’t-smoke cigrarettes, and some really exciting opportunities.
After an adrenalin-fuelled fundraising effort and a whirlwind trip to the other hemisphere, the latter half of August has been a relative return to normality. My mind has been boggling with ideas about creative ecologies after hearing a presentation by Auckland policy researcher, Elise Sterback, and I’m busily writing assignments about funding, project management and the creative capacity and potential of the South Auckland suburb of Ōtāhuhu.
A new exhibition called Pirianga Toto – Blood Ties opened at Fresh Gallery Otara; it’s a welcome return to the grassroots programming the Gallery is known for. Curated by Leilani Kake, the exhibition draws on the work of customary and contemporary Cook Islands artists and features painting, experimental installation, video, Tivaevae and crochet. Follow Fresh Gallery Otara on Facebook for public programme announcements.
Part-Fijian playwright and director Toa Fraser’s 2006 film, No.2 aired on Maori Television in late August. I used to have problems with this film but it made me surprisingly emotional to watch it again seven years later. Originally, I felt short-changed that a film loosely based on a Fijian family starred more Māori and Samoan actors than Fijians. When I watched it this time around, I felt it was actually very much a New Zealand fruit salad story; part lost, part rooted, still slightly cringe-inducing, but somewhat comforting.
I’m back on board with some really exciting MIT Faculty of Creative Arts projects coming up in the next two months and can’t wait to teach the Pacific Art Histories: An Eccentric View paper again next year. I spoke in mid-August to postgraduate students at the University of Auckland and I’m planning a gutsy talk for the Kings College Fine Art Sale speaker series in early November.
August has been a fairly transformational month. I’ve been quietly weighing up the potential of staying in Auckland against a recurrent urge to relocate back to Suva, Fiji. Getting to the Pacific Arts Association 11th International Symposium in Vancouver was almost a year long project; closing the book on that has been a welcome relief. I gave up blogging every day around mid-August, but kept on working, hustling, writing and planning.
My partner’s father, Tu’i, has been dealing to my knots, stress and aches for the past few months with Tongan massage. I usually mentally psych myself up for what can feel like a hiding in slow motion; pressure points ache and burn, and when standing, my knees feel like jelly. But today Tu’i declared, somewhat surprised, that I was OK – no knots, no tightness… no pain.
The #31WriteNow blog challenge forced me to write, declare my position and stand by my words. With almost 3,500 hits in one month, the initiative was a successful means of generating awareness, traffic and discussion. Having worked in relative isolation for the past year, hyper-blogging for 15 days was more exposure than I had anticipated – but thank you for reading, liking and sharing and hello new followers and friends!