Pasifika Film & Arts Festival (PFAF )

482890_129738303879813_1098965398_nPasifika Film & Arts Festival
Studio 2204

A film and arts festival showcasing issues of interest related to the Pacific Island region.

The first Pasifika Film & Arts Festival (PFAF) is hosted by Studio 2204, from Friday 21 June to Sunday 30 June 2013 as part of Open Marrickville 2013 in Sydney.

PFAF brings stories from the Pacific to Marrickville’s doorstep. Featuring films, shorts, docos and animation from Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, the festival will encourage members of our local Pacific community, especially our youth, to connect with their cultural heritage through visual arts and storytelling, while also sharing our wonderful Pasifika culture with the wider community.

6.00pm – 10.00pm

The PFAF program kicks off with an opening night extravaganza of Pasifika films, art, performance and more.

The Sound of Crickets at Night
Director: Jack Niedenthal & Suzanne Murphy
Length: 80 min
Genre:  Drama
Synopsis: An elderly nuclear survivor from Bikini Atoll summons a mysterious ancient deity to help reunite his family.

5:30pm – 8.30pm

SHORT FILMS FAMILY NIGHT: Animations, short films, comedy and short documenatries

Tales of Nanumea (Animation series)
Director: George Samuels

Tales from Nanumea is an animated series by George Samuels to help save the myths and legends of a sinking nation, Tuvalu. Its aim is to preserve the culture of Tuvalu, raise awareness of global warming, and re-engage youth and Elders through cultural animation.

Pai & Vau
Length: 3.34 min
Genre:  Drama
Synopsis: A Tuvaluan legend about Nanumea’s founder, Tefolaha, and the two island women, Pai & Vau, who once inhabited the island.

Te Lima
Length: 2 min
Genre:  Action
Synopsis: During World War II, somethinginexplicable happens to a small group of Germans after encountering a warrioron the island of Nanumea.

Defeat of Tulaapoupou
Length: 2 min
Genre:  Action
Synopsis: A Tongan giant falls at the hands of Nanumea’s protector, Lapi, leaving an imprint in the land for futuregenerations to remember.

Samuels, George, dir. Pai & Vau. 2008. Animated Film.

Pai & Vau is one of three short animations by George Samuels that will be screening at the Pasifika Film & Arts Festival. Traditions say that the first people to be found on the island of Nanumea, Tuvalu, were two women, Pai and Vau. Tefolaha (a man whose true origins are debated to be either Samoan or Tongan) tricked the two women, with the use of his spiritual prowess, into thinking that he was the true founder of the land. As a result, Pai and Vau were forced to leave the island, leaving Tefolaha as the new founder, guardian and protector.

Director: Tresa Ponner
Length: 12 min
Genre:  Comedy
Synopsis: Sosefina escapes her big, loud, annoying Samoan family and their rundown house to pretend to live in a displayhouse.

Director: Leilani Gibson
Length: 5.27 min
Genre:  Documentary
Synopsis: This filmspeaks of the spiritual world and discusses the traditional story of a beautiful Tongan woman, Fehuluni, as told through the eyes of artist and curator Loketi Niua Latu.

This is My Culture
Director: Ranu James
Length: 4.55 min
Genre:  Documentary
Synopsis: Culture issomething intrinsically linked to who we are, it cannot be separated fromsomeone and to treat everyone the same is to deny our uniqueness.

A Pork Bun for Charlotte
Director: Jason Taouma
Length: 7.21 min
Genre:  Comedy
Synopsis: A heart-warmingtale of love, struggle and a pork bun.



Chanel, Marie, dir. Too Familia. n.d. Short Film.

Too Familia
Director: Marie Chanel
Length: 5 min
Genre:  Drama
Synopsis: Too Familia is a short film by Marie Chanel which is a comedic take on two strangers mourning, trying to hold their composer while hung-over at the wake of a loved one. Unbeknowst to them, their chance encounter at the wake triggers memories of meeting the night before in a drunken mess – leading to the realisation that they’re just too familia.

Pacific Women’s Weaving Circle
Director: Lisa Hilli
Length: 5.39 min
Genre:  Documentary
Synopsis: Love, laughter, excitement and a passion fortradition and contemporary Pacific weaving. It’s a document of what happenswhen Pacific Islander women get together to weave.

The Tongans: Meet the Parents
Director: Kalo Fainu
Length: 22 min
Genre:  Drama
Synopsis: Getting to her high school formal provesdifficult for Siva when her Tongan family get in the way of her big night.

5:30pm – 8.30pm

WEST PAPUA/PNG FILM NIGHT Drama and documentry films from West Papua and Papua New Guinea


Brown, Dominic, dir. Forgotten Bird of Paradise. 2009. Documentary.

Forgotten Bird of Paradise
Director: Dominic Brown
Length:  27 min
Genre:  Documentary
Synopsis: Forgotten Bird of Paradise is a documentary film about the struggle for independence being fought in West Papua.

Painim Aut
Director: Platon Theodoris
Length:  34.26 min
Genre:  Drama
Synopsis: Esther, a teenage girl from Chimbu provincein PNG, fears she has contracted HIV from her boyfriend Jimi.

Bigpela Bagarap (Big Damage)
Director: Davide Fedele
Length:  43 min
Genre:  Documentary
Synopsis: Bikpela Bagarap (Big Damage) reveals thehuman face of logging in Papua New Guinea.

5.30pm – 8.30pm


Upi Mop Le (The Last Fish)
Director: John Harvey
Length:  43 min
Genre:  Documentary
Synopsis: This film explores how Torres StraitIslander artist Ricardo Idagi maintains a sense of connection with ‘home’through his artwork.

The Hungry Tide
Director: Tom Zubrycki
Length:  90 min
Genre:  Documentary
Synopsis: A personal story about a Pacific nation onthe frontline of climate change.

5.30pm – 8.30pm

WEST PAPUA/PNG FILM NIGHT Drama and documentry films from West Papua and Papua New Guinea

Ironic Survival
Director: Urbanus Kiaf, Wenda Tokomonowir, LeoMoyuwend
Length:  5.46 min
Genre:  Documentary
Synopsis: After living in harmony with nature forgenerations, Alex Mahuze is forced to earn money through means that ironicallyharm the environment.

Hopes of the Cendrawasih Children
Director: FX Making
Length:  7 min
Genre:  Documentary
Synopsis: Primary school children in Arso on the Indonesian-Papua New Guinea border are keen to study – but teachers rarely cometo the local school.

The Last Hunter
Director: Urbanus Kiaf
Length:  8.23 min
Genre:  Documentary
Synopsis: In 1990 the Wasur National Park in Meraukewas made to protect the biodiversity and empower the local inhabitants.  In 2012 there are very few animals left inthe park.  Hunter Leo Wambitman is on theverge of giving up his bow to sell timber instead.



Pollet, Olivier, dir. Canning Paradise. 2012. Documentary.

Canning Paradise
Director: Olivier Pollet
Length:  90 min
Genre:  Documentary
Synopsis: Decades of overfishing by the global tunaindustry have now pushed the final frontiers to the waters of PNG.  Canning Paradise follows the struggle of indigenous tribes to protect their sacred way of life.

5.30pm – 8.30pm


The Embrace of Night (Go to Sleep)
Director: Robert George
Length:  5.34 min
Genre: Experimental
Synopsis:  ‘The space that is occupied between myths & dreams’
A five minute experimental video installation that attempts to describe our interiorlandscape. A place where people naturally blend their busy waking lives withtheir emotions and ideas to create a narrative that is completely unique tothem, and yet universal to us all.

Reva Reva
Director: Paia Juste-Constant
Length:  7.55 min
Genre:  Documentary
Synopsis: Reva Reva is a story about filmmaker Paia Juste-Constant’s connection to her grandmothers and their full body tattoos.This beautiful canvas is far greater than a staining of the skin, more than apattern of ink.

Director: Story Weavers
Length:  15 min
Genre:  Drama
Synopsis:  Pearl is a short film written, directed and filmed by acollective of young people from Pacific backgrounds – incorporating everyone’sidea of how it is to be a young Pacific person living in Australia NOW! It’sthe story of Dinah, a young woman struggling with her grandmother’s death andthe demands that her family place on her.

My Moko
Director: Andrew Scarano
Length:  6.30 min
Genre:  Documentary
Synopsis: Brent Kerehona takes us behind hisMoko to reveal issues of identity crisis and culturally conflict he has had todeal with growing up in Australia.


McCartney, Marina, dir. Milk & Honey. 2012. Short Film.

Milk and Honey
Director: Marina McCartney
Length:  15 min
Genre:  Drama
Synopsis:  A chance meeting between two Samoan immigrants forces them to contemplate their future in the land of milk and honey.

Common Kings: We on Tour
Director: Hagoth Aiono
Genre:  Documentary
Australian Premiere Common King’s We On Tour short documentary

Pasifika Film and Arts Festival

Studio 2204

20 Farr Street, Marrickville,
NSW, Australia

Friday 21 – Sunday 23 June 2013
Friday 28 – Sunday 30 June 2013
5.30pm – 8.30pm

Opening Night: Friday 21 June 2013
6pm – 10pm

Tickets for the OPENING NIGHT event are FREE – however please book online for catering purposes.

For all other screening sessions: Adult tickets are $5 per session and children under 12 are free.

For screenings please take along your own cushion or pillow (limited seating available).

Bookings essential via:


Twitter: @PFAF2013

PrintStudio 2204 was started by photographer/filmmakers Kalo Fainu and Tanja Bruckner and is a creative space in Marrickville, a suburb of Sydney’s Inner West. The space is available for film, photography, workshops, exhibitions, events etc. Website: Facebook:

For more information contact:
Kalo Fainu 0424 445 839 or Tanja Bruckner 0424 456 004

All Images: via PFAF Facebook page


Maketi Ples 2013


The third Maketi Ples was held from 20 February – 10 March 2013 at Global Gallery in Paddington, Sydney.

Maketi Ples – from the Samoan word for ‘market’ and the Tokpisin word for ‘place’ – is an exhibition and marketplace featuring the fine works of Pacific Island artists and artisans.

An initiative of Pacific Islands Trade & Invest, Maketi Ples has emerged as the most significant event in Australia showcasing and selling Pacific arts and crafts outside the islands region.

Giles Peterson, a curator on the selection panel for Maketi Ples, says the exhibition is attracting interest from across the globe.

“There is a lot of international interest in this exhibition as well, not just in Australia and New Zealand and the South Pacific, but further, into the United States and in Europe. Maketi Ples has now become a significant event on the cultural calendar internationally, raising a lot of international interest by curators working around the world in the area of contemporary Pacific arts.” ~ Giles Peterson

This year’s Maketi Ples featured 37 artists and artisan from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and The Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Events such as Maketi Ples are a crucial step in the support of the creative arts in the Pacific region. By investing in the promotion of the Pacific arts, the Pacific Islands Trade & Invest is promoting the placement of a contemporary value on the traditional knowledge and expressions of culture of the Pacific communities. Since its inaugural show in 2011 Maketi Ples has introduced Pacific artists to the Australian art scene.

During Maketi Ples 2011, bilum-wear by Florence Jaukae Kamel was recognised as an important statement of gender empowerment by the Australian Museum and was acquired by the museum for its Pacific Collection. Later that year, the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in Brisbane acquired one of Jaukae Kamel’s bilum-wear. This dress was exhibited at the Threads: Contemporary Textiles & the Social Fabric at GOMA (1 October 2011 – 5 February 2012), another milestone acquisition for Jaukae Kamel by an Australian institution.

Florence Jaukae Kamel, Managing Director of Jaukae Bilum Products, is a well-respected Papua New Guinea bilum artist and founder of the Bilum FestivalJaukae Kamel has been at the forefront of the rapidly growing reinterpretation of the twist and loop technique into a contemporary art form – billum-wear.


Tongan Kato Kafa (basket) weaver and coconut fibre artist Sioni Maileseni’s Kato Kafa (2011) and Kato Alu (2012) were also acquired by the Australian Museum.



1. Tïvaevae from the Cook Islands by Mi’i Quarter 2. woven baskets from Marshall Islands 3. purses from the Ömie Artists Inc 4. Malo Marita and Plantation House

5. Setu-Masina- Alae, girclee print by Samoan artist Vanya Taule’alo 6. Florence Jaukae Kamel in front of bilim bags from Papua New Guinea 7. Sepik face, acrylic on paper by PNG artist Anna Kawage 8. wood and stone carvings by Ralph Ako, Solomon Islands

9. Purses from Plantation House 10. Tongan coconut fibre, rib & leaf fan by Sioni Maileseni 11. hand painted textiles by Franny Do’oro, Solomon Islands 12. Trobriand dancers, acrylic on canvas by PNG artist Martin Morububuna

13. Tongan artist Tevita Latu 14. Buldoza klirim bus lon LNG projek, acrylic on canvas by PNG artist Andrew Kauage 15. woven baskets from Marshall Islands 16. some of the artists on a trip to the Australian Museum

Family Day (23 February) : A family day was also organised at the gallery, where the artists and artisans spoke  about their art practice, the state of the art scene in their countries of origin and hopes and aspirations about their participation in Maketi Ples.

Among the artists that spoke were Lalovai Peseta, Vanya Taule’alo Gallery, Chris Kawage, Ralph Ako, Frances Do’oro, Mi’i Quarter, Tevita Pola’apau, Sione Maileseni, Stanley Pesaro and Florence Kamel.

Artists Florence Jaukae Kamel demonstrated Bilum making, while Sione Maileseni showed the visitors coconut fibre weaving.

Tattoo demonstrations/sessions by Samoan artist Lalovai Peseta were also held and due to popular demand, a third and last session was organised. Peseta tattooed Florence Jaukae Kamel on her right arm her signature design – Skin Pik, a weave pattern she uses in her bilum-wear colleciton. You can view the tattoo here.

Over the next three years, PT&I plan to extend the exposure of Pacific arts and crafts geographically with the possibility of hosting multiple events in a year at various locations in Australia and in other countries as well.

“So far it has been an extremely satisfying and rewarding experience for Pacific arts, artists and artisans. We would like to see more artists from the entire region benefit from it.” Caleb Jarvis, PT&I Australia Trade Commissioner

2013 Maketi Ples Artists and Artisans:

Cook Islands: Kay George; Mi’i Quarter

Fiji: Alifereti Malai; Abraham Lagi

Papua New Guinea: Jimmy Amamao (Annie’s Pottery); Malolo Prints; Florence J Kamel; Martin Morububuna; Laben Sakale John; Johannes Gulag; Chris Kauage; Kauage Family: Elisabeth, Andrew, Michael, Anna; Ömie Artists Inc; Agnes Posanai (Tarebo Arts); Stanley Pesero and James Kuri (Enga Cultural Centre)

Samoa: Plantation House; The Vanya Taule’alo Gallery – Vanya Taule’alo, Lalovai Peseta, Kili Luaipolu, Beau Rasmussen, Isabelle Staron-Tutugoro, Chuck Feesago, Fatu Feu’u, Jeff Lockhart, Wong Chiu Tuipoloa, Lily Loita

Solomon Islands: Franny Do’oro; Ralph Ako

Tonga: Sione Maileseni; Tevita Latu; Sione Tu’avao; Ti Pola’apau

The Republic of the Marshall Islands: Elefa Handicraft Shop

Maketi Ples 2013

20 February – 10 March 2013
Global Gallery, 5 Comber St, Paddington, NSW, Australia


Maketi Ples 

Pacific Islands Trade & Invest


Maketi Ples Note: this is not a Facebook Page but a Profile page.

Pacific Islands Trade & Invest

Twitter: @MaketiPles

Photos available online of Maketi Ples:

PT&I website

PT&I Facebook Maketi Ples Photo Album

Vanya Taule’alo Gallery’s Facebook page have a few Photo Albums from Maketi Ples

Sources: Maketi Ples; Pacific Islands Trade & InvestSamoan Observer; Ruth Choulai, Creative Arts Program Manager, PT&I. Images via PT&I and Maketi Ples websites and Facebook pages/profiles.

Since I’ve been gone…


Twenty-twelve just wasn’t my blogging year…actually much of 2012 was just a write-off.

  • It was my dad’s 30th anniversary since his death
  • My mum was in hospital for a month where she spent 3 weeks in intensive care
  • I was torn between two lovers *cue music*…feeling like a fool…(sing along with me now)…
  • Was bored of my job/life – quit my job after thinking about it for 3 days with the intent of moving to Melbourne but ended up staying in Brisbane and moving to another department in the same organisation I worked for

On the upside I was in Fiji three times last year.

Lots has happened out there in Oceania or should I say Oceania in diaspora – I hardly come across information about the arts happening in the Islands. Maybe I stalk  I’m friends with the wrong people.

Here are just a few events that has happened since I’ve been gone…

The 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT7) opened in December at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) and Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) here in Brisbane. I didn’t get a chance to go to the opening as I was busy that weekend.  It ends 14 April so I have a bit of time to see it.

Pacific artists featured: Sopolemalama Filipe TOHI (Tonga/New Zealand) | {disarmed} imagining a Pacific archive: Torika BOLATAGICI (Australia/Fiji), Mathew HUNKIN (New Zealand/Samoa), Teresia TEAIWA (United States of America/Kiribati/New Zealand) | Graham FLETCHER (New Zealand/Samoa) | Asmat artists: Ben AFEX; Amatus AHMAK; Antonin ARKE; Primus ISIMIN; Stefanus JAKFU; Norbertus JOKOMEN; Paulis KOMARE; Paulis POKMAN; Yakobus SERAMBI; Dinisius SIRETS (West Papua, Indonesia) | Greg SEMU (New Zealand/Samoa) and from Papua New Guinea two co-curated projects explore specific focuses. Works from Papua New Guinea include a group of performance masks and painted and carved structures from New Britain and the Sepik.

the other APT 2012 – an online exhibition of alterNATIVE perspectives curated by Jenny Fraser. Coinciding with and responding to the state government-run 7th Asia Pacific Triennial in Queensland, the other APT  features a range of artworks from Australian-based artists of various cultural backgrounds and art forms. Check it out here the Facebook Event page here.

Masi, which premiered in Wellington at the New Zealand International Arts Festival last March was shown in Fiji (December 2012) and at the Sydney Festival 2013 (January 2013). Directed by Nina Nawalowalo, Masi tells a touching love story between her parents – a Fijian high chief from the island of Kadavu and the daughter of Cambridge-educated schoolmasters in the 1950s.

“Nawalowalo blends physical theatre, magic, live music and a muscular ensemble of traditional Fijian dancers to tell the story of her parents’ romance, which began over a game of chess”. ~ Lloyd Bradford Syke

Concealed Ancestors  (12 January – 23 February 2013) was a solo exhibition by Waikato-based Fijian-Maori visual artist, Margaret Aull, co-curated by Nigel Borell and Ema Tavola for Papakura Art Gallery, South Auckland. Produced as part of Margaret’s post-graduate studies, the work is an in-depth visual enquiry into the concept of taputabu or sacredness informed in part by a recent trip to Fiji and time spent at the Fiji Museum.

8243140703_4cdc16c1cf_z Whakapapa transfer station | Margaret Aull | Acrylic, graphite, ink, 24-carat gold leaf on paper

In May last year Fiji’s international carrier, Air Pacific announced its rebranding, which included a name change to Fiji Airways, and a distinctive new logo that highlights the companies Fijian roots. Air Pacific commissioned Fijian masi artist, Makereta Matemosi to design the new logo.

Fiji Airways 15 motifs to be trade marked

Fast forward to January 2013 when Air Pacific publishes its intentions to trade mark 15 individual masi motifs used in its new logo.

There was a public outcry over this on Facebook (the new platform for public outcry). A Facebook page was created by a concerned group of people NA NODA MASI – Do not TM our cultural heritage, as well as an online petition.

The online petition is still open, please sign and share.

More info: NA NODA MASI – Do not TM our cultural heritage Facebook page; Cultural identity by Tevita Vuibau. Fiji Times; Appropriation (?) of the Month: Fiji Masi for Air Pacific or for Everyone? by Kristen Dobbin.


I hope to feature more of Urban Viti blog series: interviews {Talaona}, DIY’s {Tovolea mada}, style features {vale ni style}, cultural appropriation and (my) geometric obsessions {kerei}, as well as regular updates on exhibitions and such.

Hopefully I’ll be blogging more this year and making art…one can only dream *sigh*.

Don’t forget to check out Urban Viti on Facebook:

Post-script: It took me three hours to write this post! Which made me realise the main reason why I haven’t been blogging – the lack of a personal computer! My laptop died on me some time in 2011…two years on and I haven’t been able to afford a replacement.

I’ve been spending my money on travelling – 2011 I travelled three times interstate and three times as well to Auckland and once to Fiji. In 2012 I went twice to Auckland and three times to Fiji!

This year I plan only to do two international flights – Fiji at the end of the year and to Europe to see my love <<< Yes, I’m no longer torn between two lovers.

So I think it’s about time I spoilt myself and bought a new laptop.

Image sources: Concealed Ancestors via PIMPI ; Fiji Airways logo via NA NODA MASI – Do not TM our cultural heritage

Culture for Sale: a Post-Colonial Völkerschau // Presentation by Shigeyuki Kihara

In August 2011 performance artist Shigeyuki Kihara travelled to Germany with the support of the Visitor’s program from the Goethe-Institut to investigate museum archives held across Germany to research materials related to the German administration of Samoa from 1900 till 1914.

Kihara’s presentation accompanied by a power point presentation traces the historical footprints of several groups of Samoans including men, women and small children who travelled and toured extensively across cities in Germany including Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich and Cologne where they were exhibited in a zoo – a practise commonly known as ‘Völkerschau’ a popular form of exotic entertainment and colonial theatre at the time.

The title of the presentation Culture for Sale is the same title of a live public performance and multimedia installation conceived by Kihara staged during the Sydney Festival in January 2012. You can see photos from the performance here on the Edge of Elsewhere blog.

Conceptually informed by the Samoan participation in the ‘Völkerschauen’, Culture for Sale explores the close relationship between performance, identity, power and money.

The presentation will discuss how Samoan identity as ‘the other’ was contextualised under German colonialism, and whether the surrounding ideas of ‘the other’ continues to resonate in the daily lives of Samoan people in the so called ‘post-colonial’ era in the wake of the 50th Anniversary of the Independence of Samoa in June 2012.

Culture for Sale: a Post-Colonial Völkerschau

Presentation by Shigeyuki Kihara

When: Sunday 19 February, 2012. 2pm

Duration: 45 minute talk and 15 minute Q & A

Where: PATAKA Museum of Arts and Cultures
Cnr Parumoana & Norrie Street
Porirua, Wellington, New Zealand

Source and image: Pataka

Talanoa : Janice Brown

If you recall, I had posted earlier last week my new mustard + tapa combo which featured this gorgeous Aysia-ley mustard skirt from Salt & Light Threads.

Miss Brown Top ($AU59) and Aysia-ley mustard skirt (AU$59) BOTH SOLD OUT  | Salt & Light Threads

Brisbane based fashion stylist/designer Jancie Brown is the brains behind the fashion clothing label Salt & Light Threads, which was only launched last year here in Australia.

Of Samoan heritage, Janice is also the owner of Bejanjan Style and is involved in fashion styling/design, hair styling and creative directing services for magazine shoots, model portfolios, celebrity styling, music video clips, commercial advertising, product shoots and personal styling.

Her artistic flare is unique and is differentiated by her individuality, style and Pacific heritage.

I’m excited to talanoa with Janice about how she became a stylist and designer and how her Pacific hertiage influences her work. She also offers some advice for aspiring stylists and designers and gives us a sneak peak at her 2012 collection for Salt & Light Threads!

Pearlynesia Desert Shoot by Bejanjan Style | Creative Director/Head Designer: Janice Brown | Photographer: Jay Romero | Fashion Stylist: Bejanjan Style (Jancie Brown) | Assistant Stylist: Sophie Gilboy | Make Up/Hair: Clementine Designs | Model: La’tecia Thomas | 2011

Rechel Jungle Fever Mermaid gown | $Au400 | Salt & Light Threads

Tell us a little about yourself and how you became a stylist and designer?
I discovered my love for this industry at a very young age, when I had started in high school back in New Zealand it was a journey about identity really. I started to experiment with style and trends and always kept my eye out on what’s hot to trot, and eventually you start to evolve as a fashionista, but in my case I created a lot of my own style.

My mum would buy me clothes that I didn’t like (lol) but I never threw them away. I would look at them and picture in my head what I could do to the garment to add my personal touch to it and when my friends saw it they would say “that is sooo janjan”. Hence the creation of Bejanjan Style. My mum, however, was never impressed with my sudden urge to cut up my jeans and turn them into denim skirts, or recreating my church tops and skirts into a dress for my school discos.

I got into fashion retail at the age of 18 and started to build my experience in the industry, I started off as an in store fashion stylist and started to manage stores for fashion brands in New Zealand and Australia with the hope that one day I would build my own clothing label. I also got into finance and business because I needed the experience and knowledge on how to effectively manage and build my own brand.It’s not enough to just have a passion for your craft as many designers or stylists would assume.

If you want to cut down on your overheads when you are starting off, you not only need to have the creativity to produce the product but also know how to market your brand and product and maintain it. So I guess that’s what all those years working under the guidance of fashion business owners and finance whiz has prepared me for. It’s still early days for my label and still at baby steps,but I’m very optimistic about the future of Salt & Light Threads.

Turqua lace sleeve dress | $Au69 | SOLD OUT | Salt & Light Threads

Donna-K Paradise dress (yellow) | $AU280 ON SALE $AU150 | Salt & Light Threads

What challenges have you faced, and what advice would you have for aspiring Pacific designers?
As always when you venture out on your own especially in the fashion industry it’s always a high risk factor because you don’t know whether your new collection will take off as you project, or whether your target market will warm up to the idea of new styles that you have invested so much of your time and capital in.

So there were many challenges I have faced since the launch of my clothing line, but I fully embraced the difficulties because it really tested my endurance and patience in seeing through any circumstances and I learnt a vital lesson to ensure that my attitude controls my circumstances, because if it doesn’t, then my circumstance will well and truly destroy my attitude. I just really thank God every day for the wisdom; He gives me to persevere through anything.

My advice is, don’t be afraid to dream and to dream BIG!! To have a vision, and pursue it. And the best time to pursue it is NOW! Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity; you have to create your own opportunities. You are not defined by statistics assuming that because you come from a certain background or that your IQ level is below national average that you are voted most unlikely to succeed in life. Everyone has talents and crafts, but the only person that will stop you from developing them, is yourself.

Can you give us a little insight into your creative – how do you first approach a new project?
I do a lot of research. What the trends are, not only in Australia but abroad, things like what celebrities are wearing and what people love to buy from stores in some of my favourite brands, and then I go back to my roots and dig up what has shaped my style. I then start to create a look that separates me from what everyone else is pipelining but keeping in mind with the trends. What I cannot forget about what I do is that, it’s a business also, and the main aim for any business is to accumulate some sort of revenue, but why its more important to me, is because a lot of it I give and invest into others. So sticking to trends without being completely caught up in it, ensures that there’s a constant flow.

Tell us about some of your recent Bejanjan Style projects. What would have been your favourite?
I haven’t started any for 2012 however I had done a lot during 2011. My favorite would have to be the shoot in the Castle I did mid 2011 because I was able to create a unique look that contrasted from the location.

Most people would think princess and fairies when they think about a shoot at a castle, but I wanted to add a bit more edge to it. So I created 3 different looks. All the outfits and the accessories right up to the hair and the head pieces also the creative directing was all a Bejanjan Style idea that was bursting in my head so I had to put it to the lenses best way I could.

Castle Shoot | Creative Drector/Dress Designer: Janice Brown | Styling/ Hair Stylist: Bejanjan Style (Janice Brown) | Photographer: Jay Romero | Make Up Artist: The Beauty Mechanic (Alicia Lovich) | Models: Senita z, Vylita M and Kristi S | 2011

You’ve mentioned in previous interviews that your designs are influenced by your Pacific Island heritage. Tell us a little bit about that.
I was born in Samoa being under the influence of two very important women in my life, my grandmother in which I did not mention in my previous interview and my mother. They both influenced me in their own unique ways.

My grandmother Italia Meleisea Taouma was vibrant and full of life and culture, and taught me the importance of being a teine Samoa. From memory she would create my traditional costumes and head piece and taught me the siva Samoa (traditional Samoan dance) and would watch me perform at school back in Samoa. She was so graceful and elegant and it is because of her I could never forget my beloved Samoa and the strength and ability that a Samoan woman has.

My mother Seiafi Taouma Fatialofa is my rock. I don’t know any other woman like her. Like I always say, she’s my trail blazer in the sense that she really paved the way for me in all aspects of life. She taught me the importance of being a God fearing woman. Her style was quite the opposite of my grandmothers who was always decked out in colour and pattern, my mother kept it simple yet sophisticated and feminine. So they both played a vital role in my life growing up.

Bejanjan Style | Creative Director/Head Designer: Janice Brown | Photographer: Jay Romero | Fashion Stylist: Bejanjan Style (Jancie Brown) | Assistant Stylist: Sophie Gilboy | Hair Stylist: Clementine Designs | Make Up Artist: La’tecia Thomas | Model: Jewlz Holbeck | 2011

Do other art forms or artists in different disciplines inspire or have influenced you and how?
I actually have a love and appreciation of all art forms because I come from a long line of creative beings. My family consists of musicians, film producers/directors, dancers, actors and I guess I branched out into a different art form with fashion.

People who inspire me are the ones who use their art forms to give back where they can. Whether it be, through music, dance, production etc., if you can inspire others and bring hope into their lives through your craft, then you are on my highly favoured list.

Someone who tops this list at the moment and in whom I’ve always been inspired by is Film Producer/Director and Actor – Tyler Perry. Now there is a person who brings his life into his art in the hopes that people walk away from his shows and films feeling challenged and moved by the whole experience! Oh and you can’t forget the full abdominal workout- hysterical!.

If you could collaborate with another designer, stylist or creative person, who would you choose and why?
Oh I feel like a kid at a candy store just trying to narrow down my options of who to choose really. There are so many creative beings that I can only hope I would have the chance to work with.

Someone in the fashion industry I would love to work with is Tyra Banks-She’s ALL fierce and ALL fabulous and is a leading example of inspirational people who use their craft or talents to make a difference in others. She is the epitome of how “beautiful” should be perceived and I’m not just talking about the exterior.

But more on the home front at the moment I would love to collaborate with the Sass and Bide girls and Camilla – Australian Designers. I am loving the feel-good experience of colour dipped in tribal pattern and inspiration. The S&B girls and Camilla have surely come a long way on building their designs on a more international level.

Soli Rainforest Evening Gown | $Au400 | Salt & Light Threads

The Internet has seemingly made it easier for artists, designers, writers and musicians to share their work with the world. You yourself have your own website and fan page on Facebook  – do you think the Internet has created possibilities for Pacific artists and should they take advantage of it?
We live in a world that is ever changing and constantly evolving so we need to move with the times. We absolutely need to take advantage of the Internet and utilize the availability that is made to us. I took advantage of the fact that people are frequently taking the comfort of their homes to shop with the ease of letting the fingers do it all.

My product is more available to a wider world when it is online as oppose to it only being limited to where you are physically based and network. I had people on my Facebook page checking out my website from America and UK. So definitely make use of technology to get your art form out there.

What are you currently working on and future goals?
As of late, I have been working on revamping the style of Salt & Light Threads, so I am not releasing anything new until April which will be the one year anniversary since the launch. It will be a lot more refined in terms of design and style. So I’m just reshuffling at the moment. Also a men’s collection towards the end of 2012 in New Zealand, hopefully that all falls into place by September- October.

In the long run I’d like to eventually open up shop fronts and build the brand on a more international level and expand into children’s wear, accessories and shoes, but that’s something I’m looking at from a distance,for now its one step at a time. So in saying that I’m currently completing my degree in business to help me reach these goals, along with a whole lot of faith and like-minded people.It’s going to be a busy year-watch this space!

What’s your fashion tip for 2012?
CONFIDENCE is a must have accessory!! Every season will have different trends- it’s HOW you wear those trends that really separates the failures from the FABULOUS!! Style is not just about the material things you slap on; it’s how you carry yourself within them.

Sneak Peek: Exclusive to Urban Viti. Salt & Light Threads Unreleased design , a hibiscus lei inspired dress with a modern twist to the design and keeping with the trend of colour blocking with the royal blue and red. Cut-out on both sides and one sleeve arm maxi dress. Will be released in April 2012

Janice with her team.  Left to right: Models- Vylita M, Jewlz H, Mark Antony Howe, Janice Brown, Model- La’tecia Thomas, A/stylist-Sophie Gilboy

{Salt & Light Threads website is currently being revamped with new designs to be added later on in the year. So do check out the fabulous pieces on sale from the Salt & Light Threads 2011 colleciton. For purchase inquires please email}

Vinaka Janice! Can’t wait to see more of your new collection for 2012. 

Salt & Light Thread on the Kokonut wireless:

Salt & Light Thread:
Urban Viti Blog post | Pasifika Styles: mustard + tapa:

Interview conducted via email January, 2012. All images courtesy of Janice Brown.

Pasifika styles | Mustard + tapa

Miss Brown Top and Aysia-ley mustard skirt from Salt & Light Threads

I’m a big fan of mustard, so I almost died and went to heaven when I came across this Hawaiian pua styled mustard skirt…and then died again when I saw the top with its delicate raffle made with Samoan siapo (tapa).

This ensemble is designed by Samoan Brisbane based stylist and designer, Janice Brown. I’m excited to say that Janice will be Urban Viti’s first Talanoa/Interview for 2012!

Check out Salt & Light Threads online here or on Facebook here and do keep an eye out for Janice and I’s talanoa session later next week.

I loved this ensemble so much…that of cause I had to get both.

Skirt: Aysia-ley mustard skirt from Salt & Light Threads Originally $AU59, bought on sale for $AU20. Out of stock | Shoes: Marau from Dahia Shoes $FJD130 | Flax bag from New Zealand | Necklace: Can’t remember where I got it from 

Since it’s still summer here in Australia, I teamed up my mustard skirt with a plain black top with short lace sleeves, my lovely tapa shoes from Fiji, brown and black necklace that kind of reminds me of Fijian pottery and a flax bag…oh and not forgetting a red hibiscus in my hair.

My bestie Johanna bought the tapa shoes for me while we were in Fiji last month. The tapa shoes are made in Fiji by Dahia Shoes (#sidenote: I had put up my posters for Diasporadic679  in it’s sister shop, Ronnie’s Shoe Store in Otahuhu).  Read about their new Pacific range here and check out their Facebook page here for more styles.

Tafaoata Film Festival

The National University of Samoa presents the Tafaoata Film Festival.

Click here for PDF version

The Festival is co-sponsored by Sundance Institute (USA) and The Film Institute (NZ) and has an exciting selection of films.

The Festival opens with the Samoan/New Zealand film O Le Tulafale which  has been nominated for the  Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards.

Bran Nue Dae
Journey To Iphipa
O Le Tulafale (The Orator)
On The Ice
Rangatira: Making Waves – Merata Mita
Sikumi (On The Ice)
Tama Tu (Sons of Tu)
Taua (War Party)
This Is Her
Va Tapuia
Waiata Whawhai : Songs of Protest

Apart from the Screenings, NUS will be hosting a workshop and concert.

For people interested in meeting Samoan directors, actors, and members of the  industry. There will be a “In front of the Camera” session and then a “Behind the Camera” Session.
When: Saturday, 3 December 2011
Time: 9am-12pm.
This is FREE and open to the public

Featuring Samoan Reggae master “Fiji” at Tanoa Tusitala. Tickets are available through Tanoa Tusitala and are $25 each. {Note: Original email received did not have any information about the date or time of the concert. Also I don’t know if the Samoan Reggae master “Fiji” refers to Fijian born GeorgeFijiVeikoso}

Tafaoata Film Festival

3-4 December 2011

Magik Cinema

Apia, Samoa

Tickets are available through Magik Cinema.

Source: CultureTalk email list