Taupou

“As a Sāmoan performer, I’d love to share my uniqueness of my own kaupapa and my disability. Showing the real me, being in a chair performing with style, in my way.” – Lusi Faiva

This outdoor public performance piece investigates the symbolism and beauty standards within the role of the taupou. The taupou is the ceremonial hostess selected by the village chief to elevate the formal reception of visitors to a village or place.

By inviting Lusi to claim this role she will help redefine for future generations what graceful movement looks like and what type of bodies are able to hold space within the taualuga.

This work will create an opportunity for a piece that pushes accessibility and visibility not only within the context of Samoan groups, but how public festivals support people who face additional barriers to participation. It ensures there are voices at the table for multiple conversations and representation to ensure accessible events.

Lusi Faiva, (Patamea, Savai’i), is a founding member of New Zealand’s integrated dance company Touch Compass. Since 1997 she has helped pioneer contact improvisation within New Zealand, touring regionally within New Zealand and Australia. One of the company’s most notable works Lusi’s Eden was developed around her personal story and her subsequent short film Mrs and Mrs Jones tells the story of her adoptive palagi parents who taught her to read and write. Born with cerebral palsy at a time when the state thought they knew what was best to support her growth, this resulted her being placed into an institution and the disconnection of her ‘aiga. Lusi was honoured with a highly commended citation at the 2019 Arts Access Awards.