4 May 2016

Fiji poet encourages focus on artistic expression

6:56 pm on 4 May 2016

A Fiji poet says freedom of expression doesn't always come easily in his country but young people should be supported to speak up.

Daren Kamali performing his Masi poem with Vou Dance Fiji at EU Ambassador Andrew Jacobs' residence in Suva.

Daren Kamali performing his Masi poem with Vou Dance Fiji at EU Ambassador Andrew Jacobs' residence in Suva. Photo: Supplied

Daren Kamali is a participant in the Valuing Voices project, which was launched yesterday in Fiji on World Press Freedom Day and looks at increasing the voice of marginalised citizens.

It is funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council with Save the Children.

Mr Kamali says people in Fiji society traditionally face various obstacles to expressing themselves freely, including over their political stands.

"Even christianity as well plays a big part in controlling expression as well here and in other parts of the island. It is just really trying to get the young people to be more articulate about what they want to bring out in their words in their performance and how they carry themselves in general in public and at home as well."

He said he encouraged young people to not be afraid to express themselves and to stay focussed.

"Just trying to get them to be - they know they're passionate, they know they're talented - but get them to be more disciplined about how they want to take their career, and what sort of path they see themselves on in the next five years in trying to develop that space around them or opportunities as well."