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Pacific Washup PDF Print E-mail
Container Culture
Written by Steve Dietz   
Apr 01, 2006 at 04:41 PM

Rachael Rakena, Fez Fa'anana & Brian Fuata

Container Culture: Auckland

Raachael Rakena, Pacific WashUp Pacific Washup was produced during a short collaborative residency at Performance Space in Sydney, 2003. The three collaborating artists had never met before and had no prior knowledge of each others practice. Through the first days of the residency we engaged in dialogue about who we were, where we came from, and why we had been brought together. This was a predominantly cultural discussion of family and place. We had commonalities through our Polynesian heritage and links to the Pacific Islands and New Zealand. However, our contrasting 'uncommonalities' regarding the geographic and cultural positions we inhabit as indigenous people of the Pacific, as migrants or non-migrants, became significant too.

Rachael Rakena, Pacific WashUp

At the time of making this work Australia was dealing with immigration issues. Boat people landing on beaches in north Australia had been sent away unprocessed as refugees contrary to international law. The Australian government legislated a change to its international border overnight to protect itself from having to deal with these displaced people, and many Australians were in debate around the issue. A banner in Sydney read "Paddington Welcomes Refugees". Sydney beaches have made international news recently as migrant focused violence has erupted. We are faced with ongoing issues of race-based anxiety, phobias and prejudice. "The protection of Australian values" has been cited to both condone and condemn the riotous behaviour. Just what Australian values are, who has determined them, or who has been excluded, is left unstated.

There are 26,000 Maori and 43,000 Pacific Islanders living in Sydney. While cultural alienation, dislocation, and displacement experienced by immigrants are themes of this work, their vision of a brighter future, their courage in migrating, and the survival of their cultures and communities come into focus too.

Pacific Washup's flotsam and jetsam on Bondi Beach exposes a vulnerability that casts the observer into doubt as to whether they have arrived into a safer environment or not.

Rachael Rakena, Pacific Washup

Rachael Rakena, Fez Fa’anana and Brian Fuata

Pacific Washup 2003

video still from single channel DVD

courtesy of the artists
Last Updated ( Apr 24, 2006 at 10:46 AM )
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