After my first nights sleep on the island of Suomenlinna, I awoke to the sounds of seagulls flying above, smaller birds chirping away and later the sounds of gandering geese that often gathered in our communal outdoor social space. After eating breakfast I walked around the islands and drank in the smell of the fragrant purple and white flowers that were bursting with colour and fragrance. I felt like I was in a summer wonderland, surrounded by the sea. The 18th century buildings of Swedish and Russian architecture and cobble stone pathways made this Sea Fortress a UNESCO cultural world heritage site. My 10 year old son was in military history heaven. I asked Ngatia what he remembers most about the Fortress of Finland which we lived in. His response. Geese. Not the K Market, not the eight museums including an old Finnish submarine, the hissing Grey geese.
https://abcmedia.akamaized.net/rn/podcast/2020/06/tah_20200610.mp3 Broadcast 10th June 2020, The Arts Show, Radio National, ABC I had a great chat to Namila Benson about my arts practice. I talk in detail about art projects Just Like Home, hybrid video animation Afrophobia, and my recent photographic installation Sisterhood Lifeline. Stay tuned to listen to artist Julie Gough and performance artist Fiona McGregor. 54 …
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.
It was a whirlwind, jam packed, full of goodness 5 day trip to Brussels to attend the opening event and public programs. Being amongst so many other women of colour, conversing and seeing how they are using their bodies within their own practices validated the work I had made and compelled me to continue making work that relates to the black female body. I had found my people and my community of practice.