A new garland for Fiji

Threads

7 April 2016

Salusalu made by Johanna Beasley for raising money to assist in reconstruction after the cyclone Winston

Salusalu made by Johanna Beasley for raising money to assist in reconstruction after the cyclone Winston

The garland as a symbol of welcome is particularly strong in the Pacific. The role of the broader Pacific community is especially important when someone is devastated by a natural tragedy, as occurred with Cyclone Winston on 14 February 2016. It’s natural that we turn to the garland as a source of support at this time. 

This is a statement by Johanna Beasley (Visual Arts Coordinator at the Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies, Suva, Fiji):

Cyclone Winston Salusalu (Fijian Garland)

The day after the cyclone the silence was frightening.

The wind no longer howled and it seemed the world had a curfew, not just Suva.

I was fortunate I had a roof over my head .

My garden was scattered with debris and there was a tree lying over my power line .All power lines had been disconnected as a safety measure when the cyclone hit.

I was fortunate unlike so many other islanders and locals who had felt the full brunt of Winston.

Several days after the cyclone when I returned to work, it was decided we would have a fundraiser for those affected by Cyclone Winston. We decided to have dance and musical performances and to auction clothes donations and artworks to raise money for those affected by cyclone.

I made several artworks then I decided I would make a traditional salusalu .

I decided to use cuttings from the local papers to replace the usual flowers.

I used a traditional vau base, and formed the flowers using Winston Cyclone newspaper clippings. I used the headings to hang between the flowers. I followed a traditional format.

The making of this salusalu was a very cathartic process, and helped me process my experience as single person living through what had been a cyclone unlike any that had come to Fiji .Certainly a night I will not forget.


See Tessa Miller’s contribution to the Second Home exhibition for information about how you can support the reconstruction effort in Fiji.

 


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