Past PAA Pacific

2017 PAA Pacific held on the Alafua Campus of the University of the South Pacific, Samoa

The Performing Arts – Making the Invisible Visible
Apia, Samoa
27 November-1 December 2017

Adrienne Kaeppler has suggested that one (key) role that art plays in Pacific societies is to make the invisible visible. In particular, the performing arts have developed over the millennia as integral aspects of ritual, political and economic exchanges, and in some cases entertainment. Today, performance has been the vehicle through which Pacific peoples have addressed such issues as; global warming, dis/relocation, the loss and maintenance of cultural integrity/traditions, colonialism, and sovereignty. In this way, the arts place issues of importance in the public domain; making what appears invisible, visible.

Pacific peoples have been connected to their land and oceans over countless generations. Their relationship with the land and sea is cultural, physical and spiritual; resulting in the creation of specific cultural identities. Generations of ‘aiga’ (family) relationships have been developed through ancestral ties that connect family histories and stories to place – all linked to the land and to the sea. When the Pacific Islands are threatened, Pacific lives are threatened. Climate change, ocean warming and sea level rise threaten Pacific Island survival. Island environments, habitats, food security, health, and Pacific cultures risk being lost.

How will these issues effect our cultures in the future? What will dislocation do to a nation’s sense of cultural identity? Is relocation to foreign lands a choice? And, more specifically, how do the arts address these issues? In what ways do dancers, choreographers, musicians, poets, and artists express their relationship to the land, the sea, to each other; and even dis/relocation.

This conference examines how the arts and arts practitioners (artists, academics, museum personnel) are addressing these critical issues.

2015: 29 Sept.-4 Oct., at Fa’onelua Conference Centre Nuku’alofa, Kingdom of Tonga. For more information please visit PAA Pacific 2015.