02 Sep 2015
Miria George from Tawata Productions blogs live from Vancouver while at the Indigenous Performance Symposium during the Western Arts Alliance (WAA) conference.
Blog Two | September 01, 2015
Tihei mauri ora! Kia manuia!
‘…we’ve been here 12,000 years and we’re still not tired…’ Squamish Elder Bob Baker smiled as he spoke - these word were amongst the warm welcome that he and the Eagle Song Dancers extended to over 200 presenting organisations in the darkened conference room. The official opening of the Western Arts Alliance had begun. Surveying the room, I thought that WAA is like APAM. APAM on steroids. APAM on North American steroids. These 200 represent 170 performances. From around the globe including a strong contingent of artists, producers and presenters from indigenous nations.
As an artist, the thought of an arts market makes my stomach churn. The ambition of keen and green producers is thick, like humidity, in the air. Business cards are at the ready for rapid fire like a 21st century Western.
Unless, that is, you're at WAA with the delegation from Aotearoa. Our roopū features strong artists who are well connected throughout the creative industry - taonga puoro artist Horomona Horo, Artistic Director of WOMAD NZ , co-directors of Tawata Productions, Artistic Director of Atamira, Operations Manager of Toi Maori Aotearoa and of course Creative New Zealand – helming our presence.
The conference room brightened briefly – as the Key Note Speaker was introduced. That’s the other thing about WAA. There are many other strong artists in attendance – well connected, their presenters amongst the 200 that are here. The conference room darkened again.
I wasn’t expecting Shane Koyczan. As he said, he could be the love child of Harry Potter and Hagrid (inspired by a lightning bolt scar on his head, the result of a car accident two years earlier). A spoken word poet, writer and performer, Shane’s artistry is immense - his lens on the world boundless, his politics heartfelt, the ease with which he can sweep you from laughter to tears – seems to be straight simplicity for him. I was on my feet at the end, as was the delegation from Aotearoa – and the entire room. The lights brightened in the conference room once more.
I had to smile - one person and their words did that. Transported us all.
Tomorrow is Day Three – Day Three is all business. Pitches and showcases to come.
Tawata Productions #TeamTawata