Marama Dina: A Showcase of Indigenous Fijian heritage

It’s the upcoming exhibition led by Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand female artists with indigenous (iTaukei0 Fijian heritage in an exploration of cultural rejuvenation and celebration.   The commissioned works of the showcase, Marama Dina, considers how the ten artists’ blood lines and contemporary lives come together, and how they embody the past, present and future, connecting with empowering cultural knowledge previously eroded by colonisation and migration. Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 9.43.17 AM

Artists presenting work include:

  • Margaret Aull
  • Torika Bolatagici
  • Donita Vatuinaruku Hulme
  • Yasbelle Kerkow,
  • Joana Monolagi
  • Dulcie Stewart
  • Salote Tawale
  • Luisa Tora
  • MC Trey aka Thelma Thomas; and
  • Emele Ugavule. 

“It’s been wonderful to see the deep connectivity that The Veiqia Project has generated with the community during their residency at Campbelltown Arts Centre.”  describes Michael Dagostino, Director of Campbelltown Arts Centre.   The Velqia Project is a collective of artists, curators, researchers and academics based in Australia, Hawaii and New Zealand upon which the exhibition draws from.   It’s inspired by the almost destroyed practice of Fijian female tattooing and the impact of diasporic identities.  “We’re looking at ways that we can challenge and change the institution by reforming artistic structures, focusing on community-engaged and artist-led contemporary arts strategies in Western Sydney. “

Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 9.41.28 AM
Dulcie Stewart / Sam Hartnett

Members of the project have been in residence at the gallery since October 2017 and during this time have run workshops with women of Fijian ancestry.  “Dr Tarisi Vunidilo regularly reminded workshop participants that ‘women drive ceremony’. That’s a powerful statement. ” said Donita Vatuinaruku Hulme, Marama Dina artist and member of The Veiqia Project,  “It’s like a straight line of power from generations of female ancestors to us, here today and every day. To me, it’s an invitation – to learn, to lead, to cooperate.  It’s also a calling, to grow the majestic power of my Nene and Tatai.”

Screen Shot 2019-07-07 at 9.45.40 AM
Donita Vatuinaruku Hulme and Dulcie Stewart – Kacivi mai noda dra (Calling out to our blood) ,   Te Uru

Each session exploring iTaukei culture and contemporary arts created a communal space within which participants could seek knowledge and explore what it is to be a ‘Fijian’ woman in Western Sydney.  A highlight of the new exhibition will be a vale ni soqo (village meeting house). The installation will be constructed within the gallery to offer a welcoming space where Pasifika communities can gather, learn and share knowledge. 

Screen Shot 2019-07-06 at 7.50.20 PM
The Veiqia Project / Te Uru

Marama Dina runs in conjunction with Yirran Miigaydhu, an exhibition of weaving in traditional and contemporary methods, with natural fibres and grasses such as Lomandra and vines harvested in the surrounding area. 

“The women (in the group) are from different places, the river to the sea, freshwater women and saltwater women,” says Aunty Phyllis Stewart, who leads the exhibit describing it as a culmination of artworks produced by a women’s weaving program held at the gallery the past four years.   Yirran Miigaydhu, in Dharawal language means ‘‘many women’ and pays respect to Elders past, present and emerging. 

Screen Shot 2019-07-06 at 7.43.49 PM

Marama Dina
WHERE: Campbelltown Arts Centre
WHEN: 17 August – 13 October 2019

Yirran Miigaydhu
WHERE: Campbelltown Arts Centre
WHEN: 17 August – 13 October 2019  

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