14 Sep 2015
Miria George from Tawata Productions blogs live from Vancouver while at the Indigenous Performance Symposium during the Western Arts Alliance (WAA) conference.
Not quite a week through and already the Western Arts Alliance is winding up – and the last 24 hours are jammed with hui. People colliding, making allies and plans for the future.
Fast and furious yes they were, but all of our final meetings were precise in their focus. The point being? To continue to build international indigenous networks, sustain these networks and pinpoint dates to act. That’s right – meaning we the artists and our companies would begin moving our work about these networks. The vision being to serve and feed global indigenous performance industries that are thriving.
In Vancouver, the passing of Manos Nathan was felt. The partnership between Aotearoa and Turtle Island’s visual artists – built over many years – acknowledged the loss of this great ‘muddy’. Friends and creative whanau of Manos’ trekked down to Spirit Wrestler Gallery to see his work and to grieve. Moe mai ra e te rangatira. Moe mai ra.
Throughout the blur of the last few days, clarity has come to me from the wahine toa who are present here – Emere Wano (Tihi Ltd), Ana Sciascia (Creative NZ), Rachael Maza (Ilbijerri Theatre Company) and the relentless Margo Kane (Full Circle). Leading in their respective nations and fields, these women are all connectors – of people, whanau, hapu, iwi, nations, artforms, stories. Their strong leadership a privilege to watch in action – they expertly and diplomatically maneuver western business, cultural protocol and all forms of creativity, strategizing the way forward for all of us. If you have crossed paths with Emere, Ana, Rachael and Margo, you will know! It was kaha personified.
Yes, the thought of an arts market still makes my stomach churn. But the reality of sharing art with indigenous artists, venues, festivals and audiences from nga hau e wha doesn’t.
Already, the next step is in line for myself and Tawata. A week after returning to Wellington from WAA, we travel with our colleague from Tikapa Productions, joining our Aboriginal and Torres Strait sisters and brothers in Brisbane for the National Indigenous Theatre Forum – to listen to their conversations and to share ours.
The journey to WAA needs to be repeated in the future – to enable these global conversations to continue.
Miria George, Friday September 11 2015
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