I’ve always been passionate about social change and driven to use my arts practise to create value, social justice and deeper understanding across cultures, faiths and philosophies. This kicked off strongly in the 80’s at Auckland University when I studied under Professor Graham Hingangaroa Smith and Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith as they pioneered the Kura Kaupapa Maori schooling movement. Supervisors – Roger Horrocks and Alison Jones – opened up the world of radical educators such as Paolo Freire, experimental film makers such as Maya Deren and a wealth of different ways of working collaboratively.
Since that time I have done large projects from Whangarei to Invercargill that involve communities in telling their stories. I facilitate, elicit, teach, devise, guide and learn alongside these communities. It’s rigorous, rich work that is always about going beyond what we thought possible. My teacher in the 90’s Philippe Gaulier continues to inspire me. With his eccentric comic genius he demonstrated how clowns topple kingdoms, how truth is beautiful and dangerous and how artists must never be censored.
This century, in particular, I have become interested in interfaith and intercultural work as a way of inspriring humanity and understanding between us. At times that has been about using media and performance to give extraordinary voices a platform where they can be heard and seen by many. Examples of this are the Oceania Peace Festival at the Wellington Opera House, Curious Minds/Te Toki Voyaging Trust coastal tour of a waka hourua with marine scientists, fresh water scientists, astronomers, artists and maramataka (lunar) scientists. Also the 9 day programme of activites in Waka Odyssey.
Working with communities over the last 30 years is where I hone those core questions in my practise…What am I making and why am I making it?