Samoa to host Pacific artists

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi 18 October 2017, 12:00AM

Samoa will once again play host to another conference in November.  

This event will see Pacific artists and academics from around the world descending on Apia, prepared to take on this year’s theme of “Making the invisible, visible.” 

The International Pacific Arts community will be taking their turn to weigh in on the issues of climate change and dislocation and how they will impact our cultures in the future.

Samoan artist, Tupe Lualua, is the Creative director behind Le Moana Dance Company based in Wellington, New Zealand, and she will be attending this year’s arts conference. 

In addition she has been invited by the Samoa Arts Council to use her talents as a writer/director/choreographer to present her findings through the performance art piece titled Aumaga. 

The young creative director spoke to the Samoa Observer about her upcoming presentation which will be very interactive in nature. 

Ms. Lualua will be arriving with her dance company a couple of days in advance to the conference where they will undertake a project as part of their professional development. 

The project will see the dancers live and work on a plantation in Savaia, Lefaga, to further research and develop the choreographic, theatrical and elements of the story, which they will then present to the P.A.A. conference in a live session.

“With Aumaga, we will be presenting our findings and most recently developed works to a conference of international Artists and academics,” said Ms. Lualua. 

“It is a great honour to be selected for the P.A.A. conference but it is also just as important for us to present our works to the people who live and breathe the stories that have inspired us.” 

Returning to Samoa as often as she can and engaging with the local community is crucial in Ms. Lualua’s professional and personal development.

As a New Zealand-born Samoan artist and entrepreneur who is emerging as a critically acclaimed writer/performer in the creative arts scene both in New Zealand and internationally, Samoa is the ultimate testing ground and also a launching pad for her work.

“When we first toured and performed 1918 in Samoa in 2016, the engagement that we had with the different communities, was crucial for the growth of our emerging company.

As practitioners of Siva Sāmoa and storytellers who are inspired by Samoan history, we are always aware that we do not have artistic ownership of the histories that we tell, we are not the only voice on Samoa performing arts but we would like to think that our contribution is important." 

“It was the first international tour for Le Moana, I knew that coming to Sāmoa would either make us or break us, especially considering that all of us were born and bred in New Zealand and half of our company at the time were Maori.

Sharing our works and allowing a space to receive critical feedback from different audiences was pivotal and gave us the confidence to then tour 1918 to the USA and Australia.”

Ms. Lualua looks forward to the chance to come together with other Pacific artists to share, celebrate and hopefully collaborate in this year’s P.A.A. conference and more than that she is thrilled that it will be held in Samoa, a place she holds close to her heart.

 “Sharing our dances and receiving fa’amanuiaga from the people of Sāmoa has been one of the ultimate blessings in my career thus far and at the time, grounded our purpose as a company, confirming why we do what we do - to empower and enrich our audiences through live performance.

One of my beloved mentors the late Dr Teresia Teaiwa always reminded us, that as researchers (choreographers), it is our obligation to feed back into the communities that own these histories.

Le Moana looks forward to being in Sāmoa again and welcomes any opportunity to engage with the local groups. “

According the Samoa Arts Council, registration will take place on Monday 27 November and the conference itself will run from Tuesday 28 November through Friday 1 December. 

The conference will not only include academic presentations, but will also provide delegates with the opportunity to engage with artists and museum personnel and participate in workshops. 

Evening events will include our conference welcome, an evening of films, performances, and our conference dinner. A special event is being organized to honour the life’s work of Allan Alo and the contributions he made to Pacific Performance.

The conference will be held in the Pacific Fale at the National University of Samoa (N.U.S).

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi 18 October 2017, 12:00AM

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