2 Sep 2015
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Miria George from Tawata Productions blogs live from Vancouver while at the Indigenous Performance Symposium during the Western Arts Alliance (WAA) conference.
An arts market exists thanks to artists – too often overlooked, art and artists, it should never be forgotten. Shout outs have already been made to the fine indigenous artists and companies attending the Western Arts Alliance, including Canadian author and spoken word poet Shane Koyczan on Day Three. But I stopped in my tracks when I saw that Pussy Riot were also being repped here. Pussy Riot. Punk rock, feminism, freedom of speech and justice – a good recipe for great art any day.
Day Three. Business time. Pitch presentations and showcases.
For indigenous artists and companies presenting within this very western construct – our fundamental difference in worldview needs to be acknowledged. These differences can also be described as the specifics. The specifics of a culture can act like inviting arms, reaching out an intimate embrace between a work and a global audience. You feel me? (…a sentiment directly stolen from ‘the beautiful ones’)!
The morning roared into action with Tawata, Atamira and Horomona Horo pitching their art alongside works from Alaska, Canada, Hawai’i, Australia. Five minutes to engage an audience of presenters – be they festivals, venues or managers – who are already aware of nearly 170 other performances in attendance.
Showcases filled the evening of Day Three. Five hours of tasters, teasers and curated trailers of live performance – from solo performances by Ilbijerri and Native Earth Performing Arts, to dance by Red Sky and Djuki Mala; to the dominant form – music – Black Arm Band plus improvised combinations featuring musicians creating collaborations on the ground in Vancouver, the formidable Kaumakaiwa Kanaka'ole and from Aotearoa, the multi-talented Horomona Horo.
Indigenous artists, companies and their work are already touring the world – and are clearly in demand. When considering our local context in Aotearoa, indigenous works are still to dominate mainstream performance venues and festivals. With the platform of an international market, our artists can continue to feed the global demand for our work.
Final day of Western Arts Alliance is tomorrow… let’s see where the conversations take us.
Miria, Tuesday September 1 2015
Tawata Productions, #TeamTawata