Cook Islands artist awarded a Fulbright
A top New Zealand artist residency at the University of Hawaii has been awarded to a Cook Islands artist for the first time.
A New Zealand artist's residency to the University of Hawaii has been awarded to a Cook Islands artist for the first time.
Writer, producer and director, Miria George has received the Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer's residency.
During her three-month residency, Ms George will develop a performance piece addressing the effects of colonisation, christianity and climate change in the Pacific.
She spoke to Indira Stewart.
MIRIA GEORGE: Dad went back to the Cook Islands when we were quite young, so we were able to go back and forth. So we were really fortunate to experience Rarotonga through him, which was really quite unique because he was an artist. On our family land there we have a gallery called the art studio, which hosted not only local Cook Island artists but artists from all across the Pacific and New Zealand. So it was a really, for me, an awesome way to experience our culture and the way we came to see ourselves through the arts.
INDIRA STEWART: So you're the first Cook Islands artist to receive this Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer's residency at the University of Hawaii, how does that feel?
MG: It's awesome and I'm determined that I will be the first of many more Cook Islanders who will be coming through. I was a little surprised to we find out that I was the first Cook Islander there, and we have so many amazing senior artists, established artists, emerging artists, so I just need to make sure that now that door is open as many as possible get through. I'm really excited about it.
IS: Can you talk about the projects you plan to work on during your three month residency there?
MG: I've been wanting to kind of create a performance style of theatre, I guess it kind of just bashes down the walls of traditional theatre, and working with text and image. What I've wanted to look at is the effects of climate change, colonization and Christianity across the Pacific.
IS: Hawaii isn't the first the place overseas where you've been able to portray your work, I know you've had quite and extensive career in the arts when you do travel overseas, do you encounter a lot of people who aren't aware of the Cook Islands, where it is, or don't even know much about the Pacific?
MG: Yes, yes, it's quite interesting it goes to both extremes. I was working in Toronto a couple of years ago on another play of mine 'Sunset Road' which is inspired by my Cook Islands family, and I was working with a group of artists who had no idea about anything to do with the Cook Islands, and then maybe the next day I met an another artist who's uncle was teaching there [In the Cook Islands] so it's amazing how something as specific, and small, yet inspiring place is the Cook Islands, I feel like I can always find people who have a connection there.
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