Pacific Melanesian artist Lisa Hilli shares how her black experience shapes her creativity, from the texture of her afro hair to capturing the joy of black sisterhood, it's all embedded in her art.
The email, an invitation to join her for an arts residency in Şile Turkey was by far one of the most unexpected blessings to be wished upon my arts journey. Şile is a coastal town north east of Istanbul. Şile historically is known for Bezi cotton fabric . Eddy said she was drawn to my work as there was an enquiry in what I was doing. This was a moment when the right people come into your life at the right time.
The Pacific region covers approximately one third of the earth’s surface. As a woman from this region, I find it strange that we refer to our planet as “earth” when the majority of our planet’s surface is salt water. Solwara is the Melanesian word for Saltwater. Solwara is my word for this region known as the Pacific or Moana for Polynesians. Solwara peoples don’t see this region as disparate islands separated by ocean.
This trip was a profound one for a number of reasons; it was the first time my 6 year old son had visited our Madapai (mother land) in Rabaul and Papua New Guinea, it was the first time I travelled back to Rabaul without my Tolai mother and the first time to do cultural research within my community. We spent two and a half weeks in our village re-connecting and researching the relevance of middi, historically and what it means to Tolai people today.