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Forever Fresh Talanoa Series

The Forever Fresh Talanoa Series - a collaborative effort from the In*ter*is*land Collective and Contemporary HUM - consists of four edited online talanoa (conversations) between several tagata Moana (Māori and Pasifika people) across the globe. These conversations centre around the principles of talanoa; ofa, mafana, malie and faka'apa'apa (love, warmth, humour and respect) and the ability to have a "reciprocal knowledge exchange". The talanoa within this series will focus on topics such as life in the diaspora, moana futurism, queer identities and ReMoanafication, and all will be individually responded to in written form by Anne-Marie Te Whiu (Te Rarawa), reminding us of our intricate connection and shared ancestry in Te Moananui-a-Kiwa.

Click here for Episode Tasi/One: Roots & Routes (Diaspora Life) featuring Afatasi the Artist (ADOS-Sāmoan) and Momoe i manu ae ala atea’e Tasker (English/Samoan-Chinese) 

Click here for Episode Rua/Two: u ok hun? (life + lockdown + London) featuring Lyall Hakaraia and Isoa Tupua

spare text box 1 for next talanoa

spare text box 2 for Talanoa 3

 

 

Episode Tasi/One:

Roots & Routes (Diaspora Life)

 

response by Anne-Marie Te Whiu  |  published 28.02.21

Episode Tasi/One of our Talanoa Series features Afatasi the Artist (ADOS-Sāmoan) based in San Francisco, USA, and Momoe i manu ae ala atea’e Tasker (English/Samoan-Chinese) based in London, UK. Recorded over Zoom, they take us on a journey through their lives growing up as "islanders" on other islands, what it's like to visit their cousins in Aotearoa/New Zealand, exploring their identity in their art practices and the joys (and pains) of having a Samoan mum. We get to watch their talanoa ebb and flow as they also create a piece of work, across the moana together. 

Click here to watch this first episode of the Talanoa series, and continue reading below for Anne-Marie Te Whiu's response to the video.

 

for•te

 

my tattoos and 

half sunset fringe

open lined eyes

drumkit lips

draw you to my

red velvet throne

all our whanau

have that same

laughter crink

in our nose

we sing before

we fight

we love before

we run

we never lock

the front door

 

 

I will look you

straight in the heart

of stories told

from the head of a table

like my Māmā did

and her Māmā before

sip slowly sip good

it stays chilled

hoodie cups my hair

my hands are a chorus

guiding us forward

take your time

slay blessed queen

smile hoops swoop

tell me

what are we made of?

--------------------------

found + fiction

 

samoan

chinese

new zealand

taitoko

london

san francisco

california

western samoa

ADoS

wood block printer

textiles

sewing

lino

vinyl

gong hei fat choy

the yang of the water ox

the blues and greens of luck

 

my good sis

I feel fresh

you can

hear me fine

right?

let’s start

with the

real stuff

shall

we?

little bit of pressure

little bit of pressure

--------------------------

Momoe

 

angerbunkingoffschoolcigarettesciderchildhoodwitnessingdomesticviolencesubtlecovertracismatschool

 

[Even though I’m Pasifika I’m also London.  I’m both.  It’s possible to be both.]

-------------------------- 

Afatasi the Artist

  

survivalstardustivebeendoingsomehellamagicalshitandnobodyreallynoticescoconutsfriedchickenhelladifferentfood

 

[I’m an Islander but I’m definitely from the city.]

-------------------------- 

 

Our Mums

 

when our Mum’s met

they left us

no patience

they went straight to church

and sat near the aisle

they ate the bread of christ

with their hands out

amen

 

my Mum would invite your Mum over

to eat seafood at christmas time

they would eat mussels and lobsters

ocean people eating ocean food

it was a feast

with the leftover taro from the night before

Mum would slice it thin

and fry it up for breakfast

my Mum would invite your Mum

to bingo

there would be

a situation where our Mums

would bark out orders

we would know our Mums

we would know all the Mums

-------------------------- 

fresh font

 

garamond me good

shyness sleeps sweeps seeps

remember?

remember when -

in front of all of my friends absolute 100 rejection

 

swirling mirror ball

the carvings in the McDonalds at Mangere are crazy

I had a whole photoshoot there

between big macs and fries and a [white] cheese suprem[acy]

do you know Beyonce?

do you know The Spice Girls?

yeah man

I see them on the bus

 

here’s a story of a lovely of a lovely Affrobunch

Marcia      Marcia      Marcia

okay blue eyeshadow

I see you blue eyeshadow 

yes 

yes side pony 

ride on pony 

show pony

 

I’m telling you

hair like mine is policed

I am the only one the one and only

Samoan Punk Singer

Singing Punk Samoan

I keep the beat

I am the beat

we beat

the beat

DYI disco realness

I’m a regular schmegular person just trying to get by

Black Babies have been dying at the hands of white doctors

medical racism

targeted in the birthing room

I’m tying the past

the present

and the future

I can never say goodbye

 

 

MIND YOUR BUSINESS

- PERIOD -

_________________________

 

Momoe i manu ae ala atea’e Tasker (English/Samoan-Chinese) is a multifaceted punk artist. Born in Taitoko/Levin, raised in London, her work reflects her experiences of the best and worst of both worlds. Momoe's work investigates the marginalisation of women of colour, feminism, abuse, decolonisation and cultural identity through hand block printing/paint/textiles and live performance as vocalist/shared songwriter in GUTTS (queer sax punx band) and drummer in IMMIGRANTI (qtbipoc punx band). Through creative activism Momoe aims to break silence and strengthen solidarity within overlooked communities.

 

Afatasi The Artist is an ADOS-Sāmoan, mixed-media conceptual artist and a native of San Francisco, California. Aesthetic themes of her artwork include both the Black and Sāmoan American experience, Afrofuturism, Afro-Pop art, and textile exploration. Her conceptual work, ‘BLACK SPACE’, is an ever-evolving Afro-futuristic exploration of the vastness of the global Black experience-from the cosmic to the quark, and every intersection in-between. Navigational mediums for this work include, mixed-media visual, audio, textile/fiber, music and photography.

Anne-Marie Te Whiu (Te Rarawa, Aotearoa) is a poet, editor, weaver, festival director, and currently works at Red Room Poetry. In 2019 she co-edited Solid Air, Australia and New Zealand Spoken Word anthology. She has edited Tony Birch’s forthcoming poetry collection Whisper Songs. Between 2015-2017 she was co-director of the Queensland Poetry Festival. Her poems and essays have appeared in Cordite, Te Whē Journal, Australian Poetry Journal, Sport, Rabbit and Ora Nui amongst others. Her woven piece, Ā-Ē-Ī-Ō-Ū is featured as part of In*ter*is*land Collective's 20:20 // VĀ:WĀ exhibition.

 

Episode Rua/Two:

u ok hun? (love + lockdown + London)

response by Anne-Marie Te Whiu  |  published 04.04.21

Episode Rua/Two of our Talanoa Series features Lyall Hakaraia and Isoa Tupua, who are both part of the tagata Moana (Pacific/Oceanic peoples) and queer communities/scenes in London, UK. 

Our second offering in this series (still recorded over Zoom) allows us to listen in on their discussion of queer spaces; their decline and erasure, as well as sharing their time as kids growing up in Fiji and Aotearoa. They compare their lives as part of the London diaspora, witnessing the bare minimum, gentrification and how to clock an invite to a sex party. As London and the rest of the UK (and world) struggle towards their Pan-iversary - where lockdown existed across 2020 and into 2021 - they muse on what the future will look like for queer communities and spaces in the 'new world'.

Click here to watch the second episode of the Talanoa series, and continue reading below for Anne-Marie Te Whiu's response to the video.

 

“I’m Very Queer And I’m Very Happy Here” - Isoa Tupua

 

+

 

“I Came For A Cigarette, Not A Like, Thank you” - Lyall Hakaraia

 

 

When we say things like ‘don’t box me in’ or ‘it ticks a box’ or ‘they’re living life in a box’ are we imagining the four corners of a room?  Or are we conjuring a six-sided, 3D box?  Whenever I move house one of my favourite things to do, once all my stuff has been unpacked, is to slice through the tape and cardboard so that they fold down to flat pieces, objects which become two-sided shapes.  The satisfaction of reducing the box.

 

As I listened to and watched the delicious and expansive video conversation between Isoa Tupua and Lyall Hakaraia, I thought a lot about boxes and boundaries, about safety and sensuality, laughter and longing, fashion and freedom, drugs and drag-queens, art and the army, creativity and christianity, platforms and parameters, risk and returning to oneself and radical renaissance realness, about brothers and belonging, about energy and effortlessness and about how powerful and loving the ‘hun’ on the end of are you ok hun? is. I also reflected on how queer friends throughout my life have created queer spaces, moments, queer-scapes where I’ve felt that I’ve been able to be the most ‘hun’ I can be. How queer-ness is more riding waves than stepping in time. How being queer is mirrored by the moana1   – ever changing, but always the ocean.  How coming out can feel more like going in to ourselves and listening to what our wairua has always been saying – you are multitudes.

 

There was something so anchoring and dare I say hopeful about listening to Isoa and Lyall.  Their generosity, humour and storytelling reminded me that it’s true – we do get better, (or maybe should it be fuller or is it more rounded?) as we get older. This gives me a big boost of reassurance as I fast approach my 48th birthday. Reminiscing is one of the great privileges of aging and I so loved the warmth with which Isoa and Lyall painted pictures of their past lives, from their respective childhoods in Fiji and Aotearoa where the whole neighbourhood literally raised each other and being surrounded by artists, through to their moves abroad to England.  Lyall shared how this relocation saw them witness gentrification, dealers at bus stops and crazy summer street fights; a time when they’d wear multi-coloured flared trousers, platforms, big pink fluffy coats, and no one cared.  When both Lyall and Isoa reflect that “being different now is more noticeable that it was then” and “back then being different was normal”, I yearn for a pre-social media past. 

 

Lyall speaks about a time from their past – “I used to dress up, go out, there was endless champagne, there were no cameras, people just got on with it.  Now people are Can I take a picture of you?”.  This makes me question, is the social media realm as colonised as the physical world? Is Zuckerberg the Cook of these times?

 

Isoa shared how he and his friend stepped out into the sunshine one day, dressed in overtly queer outfits and white women responded to them by saying ‘Yass Queen’.  This is overtly patronising from my perspective.  It also speaks to Isoa’s sense of body and aesthetic sovereignty – of dressing for no one but himself.  I believe that Isoa is suggesting that if, in this instance, white women wanted to show support or behave as an ally, the best thing they could’ve done is leave Isoa and his friend alone – no snaps, no comments, no photos.

 

I remember when I was living in Brighton, UK in 1998, entering an Internet Café was a cutting-edge thing to do, but I was keen to try out this new technology I’d heard about – communicating via a thing called an ‘email’. As someone who went to university during a period when there was a campus Computer Lab where thousands of students would patiently book in a week or a fortnight ahead to access one of the 12 computers for a 30-minute session, the concept of the Internet Café was radical and I felt very much out of my depth. 

 

I held off creating social media accounts until 2012 and since then I’ve been a consistent scroller and uploader.  Alongside this though, I do have shoeboxes and albums full of photos which I treasure, probably more than those which dot my digital timelines.  These physical photos are so much more personal, more real to me in a way. I can touch them, they hold the scent of time, some curl at the edge, they are humble and have no expectation. Some are torn, some have biro cursive writing on the back with a date and names; their colour and shape help tell the story beyond the photo, which screens can only dream of.  They don’t seek to be liked or commented on – their only desire is to be, just as they are - which may sound “beige”, but in our filtered, sculpted Instagram world, is actually fucking revolutionary. These photos are in a couple of old albums but mostly they’re piled together in shoe boxes. I have masking-taped these boxes together many times to keep their shape and prioritised them with my every house move. Some boxes are worth keeping, for they hold pieces of the past.

 

1. If you'd like to understand an interpretation of the te Reo words used in this piece I encourage you to go to resources such as https://maoridictionary.co.nz/

_________________________

Lyall Hakaraia (Māori / Pākehā) is an artistic polymath and producer living in London whose work encompasses designing, curating, Art Directing, and programming a queer arts venue (VFD) in the East End. His work encompasses making communal ritualistic artwork, appearing in front of the camera and dressing celebrities for red carpet events. All of his work reflects his passion for working with marginalised people to create functioning communities. Lyall is proud of his diverse origins and is a founding member of Moku the first pacific arts collective in the UK and Fagamuffin the QTIPOC sound system.

 

My name is Isoa Tupua. I am a Fijian queer who was born in Fiji but raised in the UK. The majority of my work has been with young people where I am actively trying to provide them with a perspective that is inclusive and provides care.

Anne-Marie Te Whiu (Te Rarawa, Aotearoa) is a poet, editor, weaver, festival director, and currently works at Red Room Poetry. In 2019 she co-edited Solid Air, Australia and New Zealand Spoken Word anthology. She has edited Tony Birch’s forthcoming poetry collection Whisper Songs. Between 2015-2017 she was co-director of the Queensland Poetry Festival. Her poems and essays have appeared in CorditeTe Whē Journal, Australian Poetry JournalSportRabbit and Ora Nui amongst others. Her woven piece, Ā-Ē-Ī-Ō-Ū is featured as part of In*ter*is*land Collective's 20:20 // VĀ:WĀ exhibition.

 
 
 
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Forever Fresh Talanoa Series, Episode Tasi/One, 2021. Image courtesy Jessica Palalagi/In*ter*is*land Collective