Facilited by Emele Ugavule, Rai vakaviti: Memory recount through the iTaukei worldview is a talanoa (conversation) between three leading iTaukei (Indigenous Fijian) storytellers, offering the opportunity to learn about how the uniqueness of the iTaukei worldview informs the way Fijian storytellers preserve, interpret and communicate memory through historical archives, visual art and theatre making. In this discussion, they will touch on themes relating to genealogy, accessibility, and sustainability.
ABOUT CURU MAI
Curu Mai is the program of events related to Salote Tawale’s exhibition at PICA, I don’t see colour. Curated by Creative Producer Emele Ugavule, Curu Mai sees digital and physical events celebrating Fijian culture and creative practices. Spanning from digital forums to community storytelling days, Curu Mai allows for deeper engagement with the themes arising from Tawale’s exhibition, whilst providing multiple access points for all ages to learn more about Fijian culture and communities. Curu Mai means Enter or Come in in the Bauan dialect of the Fijian language, and through this program, a doorway into PICA will be opened to invite the local Fijian community to celebrate their culture while experiencing the work of one of Australia’s leading Fijian-Australian artists.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
Emele Ugavule is a Tokelauan Fijian storyteller. Her research and practice area of interest is Oceanic Indigenous-led storytelling, working across live performance, film, tv & digital media as a writer, director, creative producer, performer, educator and mentor. Her work explores creative processes and outcomes grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing, and nurturing the vā where embodiment, cultural expression, digitisation and neuroscience intersect.
A graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Arts, she has worked with various artists and organisations across Australia and the Pacific including Warner Music, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Sydney Opera House, Netflix & Mad Ones Films, Playwriting Australia, Art Gallery of NSW, Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture & Pacific Studies.
She is a sessional lecturer at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Lead Editor of Talanoa and the founder and director of Studio Kiin.
Tui Ledua is an illustrator and animator based in the Pacific. He has trained formally in both digtal and traditional media, and has used this knowledge to help people and organisations tell their stories.
Tui absolutely loves what he does, and loves to create work that is very obviously from this part of the world. He is married and lives with his 3 noisy kids and very understanding wife.
Tarisi Vunidilo has a MSc in Anthropology and a Postgraduate Diploma in Maori and Pacific Development, from the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand, a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts, majoring in Archaeology, Australian National University, Canberra, and a BA in Geography, History and Sociology, University of South Pacific, Suva, Fiji. She has published two books and several articles about Fijian pottery, language and archaeology. She is currently volunteering as Secretary-General for the Pacific Islands Museums Association (PIMA) and works between her office in Port Vila, Vanuatu and Hilo, Hawaii. She completed her Phd in Pacific Studies in January 2016- on the topic of “iYau Vakaviti-Fijian Treasures, Cultural Rights and Repatriation of Cultural Materials from International Museums”, at the Centre of Pacific Island Studies at the University of Auckland (New Zealand). She was a Professional Teaching Fellow (PTF) and Lecturer at the University of Auckland from 2012 to May 2018 before taking up her new role as Assistant Professor in Anthropology at the University of Hawaii-Hilo since August 2018. She currently holds a Post Doc position with the University of Gottingen in Germany as part of the Sensitive Provenances-Human Remains from Colonial Contexts (2021-2024). She is from the island of Kadavu, and is the host of Talanoa with Dr T, a digital platform that promotes the Fijian language, culture and customs.
Salote Tawale was born in Suva, Fiji Islands and grew up in the southeastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia and is currently based in Sydney, NSW. From the perspective of her translocated Indigenous Fijian and Anglo-Australian heritage, Tawale explores the identity of the individual within collective systems. Examining through self-performance, Tawale draws on personal experiences of race, class, ethnicity and gender formed by growing up in suburban Australia.
Tawale completed an undergraduate degree in Media Arts and Masters of Art at RMIT University, Melbourne and a Masters of Fine Art at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney. Tawale has exhibited nationally and internationally, most notably at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art; Spring Workshop in Hong Kong for Para Site gallery; at ICAN in Jogakata Indonesia. Tawale undertook an Indigenous Visual and Digital residency at the Banff Centre in Alberta Canada and received the Inaugural 2017 Create NSW Visual Arts Midcareer/Established Fellowship. Tawale recently undertook the Australia Council for the Arts six-month residency at Acme, London, focussing on colonial archives, Fijian objects, imagery and written records.