2, CREATING CULTURAL DIVERSITY-Curating the Pacific

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A reading from Konai Helu Thaman

Personal Note: In class we all read a paragraph each and I thought this was very interesting to me, because I could kind of relate to this reading. It talks about everything has changed since Konai’s journey as a Pacific Woman. I agreed with all the sections in this Education area. I struggled in high school as well, because I couldn’t read very good, and honestly I still struggle with reading. I guess, reading something in my mind feels more comfortable to me than to read it out loud. Anyway. This reading mainly talks about cultural heritage, using your voice within a different language besides my common tongue, English and their values and ideal systems.

I enjoyed the little poem, Konai had written about her sister, [Thaman, 74:9] .. I found it quite funny and very entertaining. Because it reminded me of my older brother. How he married Rich Man’s daughter, who is now my in law. He moved twice with her, now they both own two cars. They have everything in their house, which is huge, by the way. They wish to have children someday, if a boy or girl.. they would my niece or nephew Riley, after my brother’s mother. They both work in the same company together, selling furniture and I thought my brother was upset leaving me behind. I’m kidding, I am happy for them, because they have been together for almost 10 years now. I enjoyed this poem by her, because I can so relate to this with my brother and his wife. Konai had written many other poems further on too. They’re so peaceful and calm that I am starting to like her poetry. You can just read them over time and time again. I hope to research more about her, in the future.

However, in the Pacific she talks about how the Education process in this post-colonial way of life, where Education means jobs and money. You have to move your own culture to the side. The ideas in the way of learning another way, which is more likely to successfully to get a job after you finish and/or graduate from high school. Because you are moving forward. When Konai was at Auckland University, she got to know a little more about cultures as well as her own. Knowing that Art was European Art and Literature was English Literature was the same difference to me, because that is true. There was another poem, I feel that I should mention. It talks about youthfulness, meeting old places, sitting under magnolia trees, like an artificial heart with each passing day. A clock tower drawn by its reality, its own time, its greatest shadows of this one heart, at this time is not forgetting, [Thaman, 1999:36] .. I agree that Art is easy to forget in times, I sometimes forget how to draw and paint. I always have to sketch all of my ideas first, then put them on the canvas or paper. I add the layers, layer by layer until I have come to the decision that my work is complete.

In the last 20 years or so, Konai has realized that there is no justification to finding the right perspective of what Art truly is .. its’ view of art could relate to a cultural perspective. Finding what is acceptable within the makings of art work, to create our own developments and/or ideas of what art truly is ourselves and these people who come to the gallery to view the art itself. I think, this is why they call it Postmodernism. The importance of what the images been used are all about, the signs of where it will lead towards and the languages it forms to the translations from English. What can be compose or made up is our own idea, our original piece of art work laid out on the page as a brainstorm, if you will. They don’t like all those theories and imagery of socialization and economics, whatever, they are white males finding their way with the world, knowing these Pacific women want the same thing as well. Feeling rejected within the community as a Pacific women, is like you are not wanted and that they don’t want to know. It is quite upsetting, because I don’t mind, we are all the same as everyone else. We are equals, because it doesn’t matter what race you are, you are still a human being trying to fit in.

The growth of its’ politics and its’ identity and culture.. I found it hard to fit in, while I was attending Otahuhu College. Because as I had mentioned in the first place about the Education, moving aside from the Pacific region. I can relate this. Because it is true. I never spoke good English. I felt that if I spoke in a different voice, like an accent people wouldn’t really know my true voice in society. I kept to myself alot, but I had good reason. I wanted to passed my studies, my exams, my education to get a better job. Of course, I like to study more, but it helps me to learn more than I did when I was in high school, because you only learn the basics and then when you grow up, you have more to say for yourself. I was shy all the time, I didn’t know how loud I was supposed to speak, I was always nervous when I had those odd and awkward speeches. I felt very uncomfortable because I didn’t know what I was comfortable with. I didn’t like people so much, because I was the only white girl in the class and I felt that if I spoke up, I would get teased because of the way I sounded like. This was my biggest struggle in high school, I felt like I didn’t fit in at all because I was different from the rest and I didn’t know anybody except one or two friends I had known my whole childhood.. than I was completely lost after Graduation because all my friends moved away.

Within the Pacific Countries, they had low success in high school and it was really bad. Many questiions ran through my mind, but only one stuck out, like What is going on with the Education system for Pacific? At first I didn’t understand, but now I do. One could say that finding a wider society of Pacific people among other non-Pacific men and women, is finding what is attractive to them. What is their point of view about Aotearoa? What does Education mean for them? What does Pacific Art to them? I have said many times before, I don’t know much about it but.. I intend to learn more in the weeks I am here to study about this class paper.

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