Talanoa with Luisa Tora : Diasporadic

How To Be A Zine-Maker was a hands-on workshop with Jessica Hansell and Riki Anderson on Saturday 29 January at Fresh Gallery Otara in Manukau (New Zealand). The workshop introduced participants to the history of zine culture and the basics of researching and creating their own zine.

I talanoa with one of the participants, Fijian born (now Auckland resident) activist, writer, artist and curator Luisa Tora.

Kadavu native, Luisa Tora has spent more time fighting for human rights in Fiji than she has writing or painting. Her proverbial art practice is an extension of her activism. Tora co-curated the Vasu: Pacific Women of Power exhibition in Fiji in 2008 and co-edited the accompanying publication. (Fiji Times exhibition catalogue)

Diasporadic is Luisa’s first attempt at making a zine. She wrote an open letter to City Gallery Wellington (CGW) congratulating them on their Mana Takatapui: Taera Tane exhibition and questioned why they didn’t consider featuring takatapui (les/bi/trans) women artists as well. She then introduced CGW to some takatapui women artists and art and activist collectives.

Cover of Diasporadic zine  Issue 1 by Luisa Tora. Image courtesy of artist.

Tell us about your zine and why you chose your theme.
I’ve wanted to do make a zine for ages. I like the idea of alternative media and fluid formatting. As a published poet and journalist, I’m aware of the constraints within the mainstream media and publishing institutions. I absolutely appreciate the possibilities that self-published zines provide.

I’ve been toying with the title Diasporadic for a couple of years now. I’d joke that I would start a garage band just so I could call it that. So when the FGO workshop came up, and especially as I’ve recently become a card-carrying member of the Fijian diaspora, it made sense that I use this title.

I’m not tying myself down to one theme in particular. I’m a queer Pacific writer and qualified journalist who worked in human rights advocacy in Fiji, and more recently the Pacific, for many years. This is the gaze I bring to this zine. However, I’m open to new experiences and discussions and I guess I’ll be inflicting my opinions about these new conversations on anyone who reads my zine.

Are they for sale and how can we purchase them? And when will Issue 2 be out?
I’m still a bit iffy about selling my zine. I mean, would anyone really pay to read my ramblings? Maybe I need to see what’s out there (which is why I’m really looking forward to the Auckland Zine Fest in February) and then gauge what my zine is worth, if it’s actually worth anything.

I’ve mocked up Issue 2 (getting ahead of myself, do you think? I mean, I haven’t even photocopied and distributed Issue 1 yet) and would like to produce it after the Wellington Outgames in March.

(If you’d like a copy of Diasporadic please contact Luisa Tora via email diasporadic679@gmail.com or Twitter diasporadic679)

City Gallery Wellington announced on Twitter that it would host a Mana Takatapui: Taera Wahine exhibition in the near future.
I was terribly pleased to hear about Taera Wahine.  And you know, Colour Me Fiji (Pacific artist, curator and art administrator, Ema Tavola) previewed my open letter and my initial pages on her Flickr set, so City Gallery Wellington was aware that my open letter to them was out there. I can’t claim credit for the exhibition in any way, but I’d like to think that Diasporadic was part of the discussion.

I’d like to have a chat with the CGW curator when my partner and I attend the Outgames. I’ll also encourage as many Pacific takatapui Outgames delegates to visit the exhibition. I’d be interested to hear their thoughts on Taera Tane and Taera Wahine.

Vinaka Pinky! Can’t wait to receive my copy of Diasporadic.

Edited: 12 July, 2011. Diasporadic is now available online for purchase via Cherry Bomb Comics. Check it out here.

Hanging out with Luisa Tora and her partner Sangeeta Singh at Raggamuffin 2010 (Rotorua, New Zealand)


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PHILOSOFLYGIRL: Brain Map of a Pacific Misfit zine is available at Coco Solid/ Jessical Hansell’s blog for $NZ20.00. PHILOSOFLYGIRL: Brain Map of a Pacific Misfit is Jessical Hansell’s first formal collection of writings, collages, epiphanies, illustrations, obsessions, recipes, outfits and brain-waves. It gives us a closer look into her tri-racial punk prose and perspectives not seen since her underground efforts, THIS IS NOT A COMIC and FIGHT THE FIGHT.

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10 thoughts on “Talanoa with Luisa Tora : Diasporadic

    • Dulcie S. says:

      Oppps me thinks you’ve got our Twitter conversation mixed up. We were tweeting about zines on Twitter with Colour Me Fiji (Ema Tavola).

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