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Pac Dance Fest 2016 Profile: Wearing my Map

Julia Mageau Gray
Pac Dance Fest 2016 Profile: Wearing my Map by Julia Mageau Gray : Sunameke Productions


The Pacific Dance Festival 2016 is held at the Mangere Arts Centre, Mangere, Auckland between 13th June and 18th June.  We feature one of the works presented during the festival below in this Q & A with Julia Gray from Sunameke Productions.

It’s a given, If you’re of mixed heritage or live outside of your country of origin, you've dealt with issues of identity. 
Other peoples perceptions, our families expectations, and more importantly our own realisations.
"This is a dance work inspired by my own experiences of learning aspects of my culture through dance, outside of my country of origin. 
As a Papua New Guinean I have rarely been placed within my own people and often have been warmly accepted and adopted into outside pasifika nations (mainly Polynesian). 
This work introduces my Melanesian ancestry to the place I now call home, Aotearoa, New Zealand”.
WEARING MY MAP combines Melanesian forms of dance with an evocative video narrative designed to place Melanesian presence within Polynesia.
"Through my work with Sunameke, we have endeavoured to create art that reflects our own culture of Pasifika Diaspora, 
people that are connected and accountable to their families, yet often are not accepted in their countries of origin due to appearance and location.” 
WEARING MY MAP moves from the Time of Darkness to the Age of Light, exploring White Noise and Dark Silence. 

Q. Who's working on it? (dancers or are you flying solo), how is that process? 

A. Originally a solo work, I have included three extra dancers to be a part of the performance. However it is mainly a solo work. The process is very heady and couple that with dealing with presenting melanesian dance that rarely focuses on the individual but always the collective. 

Q. Are you looking forward to working with the other wahine toa or tamatoa at the festival? Why?

A. It would be great to see work by other Pasifika women. Working out of Australia for most of my career is an isolating existence when it comes to contemporary pasifika performance, there are not many of us and we are often very far away from each other. Being a part of a contemporary pacific dance line up is indeed exciting and a comment on the rich landscape of Pasifika performance found in Aotearoa.

Q. Are you excited about being the inaugural artists at what could turn into a long running annual event?

A. Its needed, a platform to express contemporary pacific voices through performance. This is just the beginning I imagine. 

Q. Any favourite dance or arts quotes? 

A. "From old to new old, that’s how we go forward… “ This is the sunameke motto… Still applies to us today :)

You can experience 'Wearing My Map' during the festival's Wahine Toa nights - Wednesday & Thursday 8pm.

Book at EventFinda

Written by

Pacific Dance New Zealand

8 Jun 2016

Interests Pacific Dance New Zealand fosters and encourages the development of the Pacific dance sector of New Zealand. We are involved in running dance workshops, conferences, community and professional events promoting Pacific dance in New Zealand.