since i’ve been back…

I must say a month of regular blogging after four months of silence is very time consuming for someone who has a 9-5 job where Urban Viti is a side thing that occupies my brain most of the time.

There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes – contacting people, emails going back and forth, researching, getting permission to use images, editing and more editing etc. etc.

I have heaps of ideas for this blog – in fact 17 posts pending and lo and behold I’m even thinking about concepts for my own arts practice…that’s what having no TV does to you. You think, you create. I’ve missed that.

I’ll be taking time-off to from blogging to re-evaluate what I want out of Urban Viti. Having said that I do have a few more stories to post this month, so watch this space.

Here’s a round-up of posts in March {click on the coloured text to view posts}:

Style/Design

uv.style.design.mar

A fresh look at vale ni style with vale ni style #1 and some tapa spotting {i spy}.

Exhibition/Festivals

uv.2.teammela.at.pataka

#TeamMela @ Pataka

PATAKA in Porirua, Wellington currently have two exhibitions showcasing Melanesia. The Black Islands is a photography exhibition by Ben Bohane (until 21 April) and Baskets of Melanesia (until 23 June) features baskets from all over Melanesia.

Island Style: Dancing the Pacific an exhibition that draws on the rich collections of images, words and sound held at the Alexander Turnbull Library and celebrates dance traditions as a vibrant expression of Pacific cultures. How do we as Pacific Islanders depicted in these archival images construct our own history around the memories that are still available? I recount my own memories and family history in this post. Do the images speak to you? What do they say? What memory do they evoke?

Maketi Ples 2013 a summary of the the third Maketi Ples that was held from 20 February – 10 March 2013 at Global Gallery in Paddington, Sydney.

2013 Contemporary Pacific Arts Festival 5-7 April 2013, Melbourne, Australia has been developed by Footscray Community Arts Centre and the Big Island Collective to bring together a series of events that showcase excellence in Pacific contemporary arts in Melbourne. This exciting cross artform event includes exhibitions, workshops, film screenings, a community day celebration, forums and much more! If you’re in Melbourne, do check it out.

Call out for submissions/proposals

Towards a Niu Oceania?: A SPACLALS Hui (Auckland, New Zealand). SPACLALS Hui investigates and celebrates Pacific Arts and Criticism by inviting submissions (critical papers, creative performances, workshops). DUE 30 APRIL 2013.

Pasifika Film & Arts Festival (Sydney, Australia) is on from Friday 21 June to Sunday 30 June 2013 as part of Open Marrickville 2013 in . Submissions for short films, docos, animation, photography and visual art pieces are DUE 10 MAY 2013.

Vinaka Vakalevu to those who have shared Urban Viti over the last few weeks!

signature

Follow Urban Viti on Facebook for regular updates: http://www.facebook.com/Urban.Viti

Since I’ve been gone…

2012

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.

2013

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: http://www.facebook.com/Urban.Viti

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

PASIFIKA 2012 Calendar + my desk

I received my Darwin’s Pasifika 2012 Calendar in the mail last week from Julia and was going to post a photo of the calendar hanging on my wall at work on Urban Viti’s Facebook page. But after taking photos of the calendar and of my desk, I thought I’d devote a whole blog post about my colourful desk.

One wall is full of postcards and exhibition flyers, mostly thanks to Ema Tavola and Fresh Gallery Otara.  Bottom L-R: Andy Warhol style photobooth photo of myself and postcard from Andy Warhol exhibition at GoMa; Close-up of Jumping Castle War Memorial by Brook Andrew; Close-up of Postcard of Unsettled Earth Pylon City (2006) by Ema Tavola; Fresh Gallery Otara exhibition flyer from 23 Jan- 14 Feb 2009.

Suva City till infinity! I made the Suva City canvas print from Chinese paper cut alphabets; Feathers – I collect them as I find them on my walks to and from work; I collected the elephants by chance. The silver one is a tea leaf strainer I bought, the littlel red one I found on the ground one morning on my way to work and the bigger Indian looking one I got from the Victoria Park Market in Auckland – one of the store holders gave it away for free; The Māori waka (canoe) I got from Auckland.

Darwin’s PASIFIKA 2012 Calendar | $AU29.99
February : “Skin deep – the marks of my identity run through to the womb”

Head over to

www.darwinspasifika.com

and order your copy today!

Hello 2012!

Ello folks! Hope your Christmas and New Years was blessed.

I spent much of December home in Fiji. 20 glorious days!

I went home for my best friends wedding and was privileged to be her maid of honour. Congratulations Johanna and Kolaia!

Here’s a few snap shots of my trip home.

Click on image to view full version
1. Flying into Nadi 2. J&K tie the knot! 3. Getting my mehndi done for the wedding 4. Us bridesmaids having a moment with the bride 5. Trips to the Suva market 6. Mana 7. Pinky making our miti (a coconut sauce) with love 8. Countless meals with family and friends 9. Almost daily walks along the Nasese seawall 10. My favourite spot in Suva – Nabukalou Creek and MH’s 11. Pinky and Sangi smelling that sweet sweet coconut oil 12. Cream Buns from Hot Bread Kitchen 13. Catchup with friends over cocktails 14. Coconut tree 15. A quick visit to the Fiji Muesum 16Mangos 17. Feeling the beautiful Pacific Ocean in my feet 18. Farewells at the wharf but here’s to a new beginning…

A look back at 2011

2011 was a good year.  I had the opportunity to exhibit my work after such a long time.

First up was at Pacific Storms: Lusim Land at Logan Art Gallery in Queensland.

Standing in front of my digital prints.
Top: My Land My History by Telly Tuita. Digital prints 2011. Bottom: an/other oceania by Dulcie Stewart. Digital prints 2011.

I also exhibited an/other oceania later in the year at the opening of the Gallery of Oceanian Art at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji.

And I was also part of Diasporadic679, a public exhibition of Fiji artists living in diaspora. D679 was part of the 2011 Southside Arts Festival in South Auckland.

 Diasporadic679 Fiji-Fly-Grrls! Dulcie Stewart (Australia), Sangeeta Singh (NZ), Luisa Tora (NZ), Torika Bolatagici (Australia), Margaret Aull (NZ), Ema Tavola (NZ)  and Tagi Qolouvaki (USA).

 Urban Viti also turned 1 last year! To celebrate I gave away a copy of one of the 12 digital prints from an/other oceania…which I still have yet to delivery on. Sorry Derek!

 I was interviewed by Drum Pasifika, which I think led to my interview on Radio Australia with Isabelle Genoux.

Speaking of interviews, check out my Talanoa sessions (interviews) with a bunch of amazing talented Pacific Islanders here. Vinaka Jack Eastgate, Cerisse Palalagi, Julia Mage’au Gray, Maryann Talia-Pau, Lainee Fagafa, Darren Kamali, Derek Cleland, Loketi Niua Latu, Irami Buli, Ema Tavola and Luisa Tora for letting me interrogate yous.

Vinaka Vakalevu to my readers, those who supplied me with information and photos and to the inspirational artists, curators and creative people – you’re all incredible!

If you haven’t already, you can sign up to receive new Urban Viti blog posts by email. If you go to the top of this page on the right hand side, enter your email address under EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION.

Don’t forget to stay connected with Urban Viti on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/Urban.Viti

Wishing you all the best for 2012!

Fijian in Brisbane // Diasporadic679

Fijian in Brisbane (2011) / Dulcie Stewart.
Fijian tapa, manhole, Hipstamatic iPhone app. Dimensions variable

I’m a product of deserters, mutineers, beachcombers, settlers, migration and colonialism.

My mums dad was born in China and arrived in Fiji in the 1940s and my bubu (grandmother) was from Banikea in Bua (Fiji). My dad’s side is more complex and complicated. On his father’s side he has Fijian, Danish, American, Filipino and Spanish ancestry. On my nana’s side – it’s Fijian, Irish, Irish American, English and Norwegian.

Growing up in Fiji, I was either Part-European, kailoma[1], half-caste, Part-Chinese, a General voter[2], an Other[3]. It wasn’t until I left Fiji for Brisbane in 2005 that I became Fijian.

I’ve always being faced with this question of identity from a young age. I can recall being in primary school and Sr. Anna pulling me aside to ask what race I was – I must have been absent the day she took down statistics that the Ministry of Education collected. I went home that day and asked at the dinner table and all I got were blank looks.

Another incident was the 1986 census. My cousin had filled out Part Chinese as Race for my siblings and I, and Part European for her and her siblings – and I thought to myself, hold on, why am I Part Chinese and you’re Part European?

When I was in high school in Fiji, a friend also asked me if I was Jamaican (I don’t know where she got the idea from) and I just said yes because at that time I didn’t know what ‘race’ I was and it just seemed easier to say yes instead of “No”, followed by a “I don’t know what I am”.

As part of Diasporadic679 with 6 other amazing Fiji artists living in diaspora, my work Fijian in Brisbane is my connection to Fiji and being Fijian in Australia.

Drawing from my i see oceania (http://iseeoceania.tumblr.com/) photo blog, where I document Pacific motifs in my urban environment, this piece pays homage to Fijian tapa motifs and patterns on a woven pandanas mat.

I see patterns of the Pacific in my everyday life and urban landscape. Using Fijian tapa, I outline the geometric lines on a manhole which has Brisbane written on it. When repeated, the image shows a repetition of geometric shapes and lines that can be seen in Fijian tapa motifs and patterns on a woven pandanas mat.

Vinaka to Ema Tavola, Luisa Tora, Sangeeta Singh and Nicole Lim for all their hard work and to Leilani Kake and Rebecca Hobbs for helping out with the installation of the posters.

[1] Kailomas are the descendants of indigenous Fijians and European settlers.

[2] [3]General voter – the voting system in Fiji (pre-coup d’état 2006) was based on ethnicity. You voted according to race, either as an indigenous Fijian or Indo-Fijian. The ‘others’ were bunched together as General Voters. This included ethnic minorities, such as Europeans, Chinese, Banaban Islanders, as well as multiracial people.

DIASPORADIC679

17-25 October 2011
Otahuhu, South Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand

DIASPORADIC679 is a public exhibition of Fiji artists living in diaspora. Timed to acknowledge Fiji Independence Day and pay homage to the Fiji telephone prefix, +679, the artists reflect on Fiji Islander identity and diaspora experience from seven diverse positions.

All living in diaspora, the artists are Margaret Aull (NZ), Torika Bolatagici (Australia), Tagi Qolouvaki (USA), Sangeeta Singh (NZ), Dulcie Stewart(Australia), Ema Tavola (NZ) and Luisa Tora(NZ).

Collectively, the selected artists’ practices represent investigations into text and urban landscapes, feminism and sexuality, militarism, power and struggle. In the form of posters, the artists’ works are installed in the windows of six venues in and around Otahuhu Town Centre, South Auckland.

DIASPORADIC679 is part of the 2011 Southside Arts Festival.

Browse the DIASPORADIC679 blog or pick up an exhibition catalogue at any of the venues to learn more about the artists and their works and Otahuhu’s cultural landscape, from a Fijian perspective!

Diasporadic679 blog: http://diasporadic679.wordpress.com
Venues: http://diasporadic679.wordpress.com/venues/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Diasporadic679/242715675776045
Diasporadic679 crest: http://diasporadic679.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/could-we-be-stauncher/
Southside Arts Festival: http://www.mfa.org.nz/home/

Diasporadic679


DIASPORADIC679 crest designed by Nicole Lim. Based on the Fiji passport design, the new crest replaces the Fiji Islands Coat of Arms.

DIASPORADIC679 brings together the work of seven Fiji women artists based in Canberra and Brisbane, Australia; Hawai’i; Waikato and South Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Fiji-Fly-Grrls! Dulcie Stewart (Australia), Sangeeta Singh (NZ), Luisa Tora (NZ), Torika Bolatagici (Australia), Margaret Aull (NZ), Ema Tavola (NZ)  and Tagi Qolouvaki (USA).

I’m excited to be part of this sexy beast of an exhibition! Collectively, each of the Fiji Fly Grrls art practices represent investigations into text and urban landscapes, feminism and sexuality, militarism, power and struggle. Our works reflect on Fiji Islander identity and diaspora experience from seven diverse positions.

In the form of posters, our works are installed in the windows of six venues in and around Otahuhu Town Centre in South Auckland.


The six venues for DIASPORADIC679 are within a short walk of each other. Click here  for venue details.

DIASPORADIC679 is part of the 2011 Southside Arts Festival which kicks off today.

Browse the DIASPORADIC679 blog or pick up an exhibition catalogue at any of the venues to learn more about the artists and Otahuhu’s cultural landscape, from a Fijian perspective!

DIASPORADIC679

17-25 October 2011
Otahuhu, South Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand

Diasporadic679 blog: http://diasporadic679.wordpress.com
Venues: http://diasporadic679.wordpress.com/venues/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Diasporadic679/242715675776045
Diasporadic679 crest: http://diasporadic679.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/could-we-be-stauncher/
Southside Arts Festival: http://www.mfa.org.nz/home/

diasporadic679 // Celebrating Fiji Day in South Auckland

Image by Nicole Lim

6 venues, 7 artists, 9 days

DIASPORADIC679 is a public exhibition of Fiji artists living in diaspora. Timed to acknowledge Fiji Independence Day (10 October) and pay homage to the Fiji telephone prefix, +679, the artists reflect on Fiji Islander identity and diaspora experience from seven diverse positions.

All living in diaspora, the artists are Margaret Aull (NZ), Torika Bolatagici (Australia), Tagi Qolouvaki (USA), Sangeeta Singh (NZ), Dulcie Stewart (Australia), Ema Tavola (NZ) and Luisa Tora (NZ).

Collectively, the selected artists’ practices represent investigations into text and urban landscapes, feminism and sexuality, militarism, power and struggle. In the form of posters, the artists’ works are installed in the windows of six venues in and around Otahuhu Town Centre, South Auckland.

DIASPORADIC679 is part of the 2011 Southside Arts Festival which kicks off this Friday (14 October).

Browse the DIASPORADIC679 blog or pick up an exhibition catalogue at any of the venues to learn more about the artists and Otahuhu’s cultural landscape, from a Fijian perspective!

DIASPORADIC679

17-25 October 2011
Otahuhu, South Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand

Diasporadic679 blog: http://diasporadic679.wordpress.com
Venues: http://diasporadic679.wordpress.com/venues/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Diasporadic679/242715675776045
Southside Arts Festival: http://www.mfa.org.nz/home/