Part of the work we do here at FAFSWAG is about connecting our Pasefika LGBTQI community with the creative sector. As part of the Auckland Pride Festival we engaged people in the arts by hosting an art exhibition. Another way we do this is by offering to engage in discussions about creativity, Pacific communities and LGBTQI issues. Often this is done with the goal of raising awareness for the community, their needs, their voices and of course, their TALENTS.
As a co-founder of the FAFSWAG brand I’m indifferent to using deficit models in defining our community. Yes we need better advocacy standards for Pasefika LGBTQI issues. Yes we need better access to equal rights and services in this country. But for every sad story there is an equally positive revelation. Despite adversity and hardship we still have great positive and affirmative success stories to tell.
This sentiment is what drives and motivates our public speaking. The point is to share the story, the information and the experience. This is what impacts and changes in a meaningful way, the manner in which our community is viewed and understood. Without playing an active part in these conversations and social discourses, people are left to generalize, misunderstand and misinterpret our stories.
I recently gave an artist talk as part of the Pacific Studies paper being offered at M.I.T’s Faculty of Creative Arts. The title of the talk was KEEP SOUTH AUCKLAND DIRTY – Artist Talk By Tanu Gago. As a resource for students I created a PDF to accompany what was essentially a power point presentation. I discussed Arts and advocacy, Identity and representation, Fine arts practices and community service. All of these things relate to the FAFSWAG story and brand. Please feel free to check it out here.