Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Educating for Sustainable Lifestyles through the Arts project

I've been writing bits and pieces for a while now for the above project for the Fiji Times this year. People have read it, artists I have profiled have appreciated it and I've gotten to know those artists and their stories and it's been driving my work ever since. I've put a lot of personal projects on hold of late because of it - card making, comics, writing here... all because despite the stress of the final year of my BA, I found a project that actually recognised artists and supported them. To what end? Sure, NCD awareness but it all honesty it opened my mind. I've always known of art as a medium to try to create change, I try to do it in everything I do. 
The beginning of this year I was pretty low. I thought I was able to get some extra work that didnt quite fall through so I entered 2013 angry. But so much good has happened. Maybe this is all to remind myself of that. I've met amazing artists, almost finished my degree, just passed one year with perhaps one of the most patient, loving people I've ever met, met inspiring young people from around the region and theres still the rest of the year to go.
So here's what I wrote for the Fiji Times and here's hoping people will like it.

Never had I ever expected half the things I’ve experienced this year to ever happen to me. This project has been an almost year long adventure of learning, sharing and creating.I’ve always just been someone who doodled around, liked to tell stories and just be a walking-talking nonsense machine. That changed this year with the Educating for Sustainable Lifestyles through the Arts project.Before I go off about what I had to learn with the other artists, I think it’s important to share something that used to be so close to many creative people.Art is so often not taken seriously. Whatever the form, recognition for your ability, your passion and the stories you tell with your pieces mean little to so many. This may just be a generalization but is not devoid of truth.The project, on the other hand, gave artists knowledge, resources and a space to share and create. It recognized the capacity of our nation’s artists to deal with an area that has seemed immune to warnings that already exist.It isn’t a secret that NCDs are slowly killing our people. The situation is such that getting people to move, even the slightest amount, seems a tremendous undertaking. It seems even harder trying to get people to take a second look at what they put on their plate.Wellness isn’t just even about our physical bodies but includes spiritual and mental wellbeing. The latter has also been something very close to me.Whether it was because of a close friend who is a great advocate of mental health or first-hand dealings with certain moods, it was the issue I chose to pursue. These moods would creep up throughout the project. There were highs and lows, moments of inspiration and then there was feeling so overwhelmed because of the task at hand. We, as artists, were trying to make a change were so many others have failed.Despite the task, one of the things that always chased the lows away were the times I would sit with the other artists to profile them. They were always so full of excitement and had great stories to tell. With them, I began to realize that despite a lack of recognition, these artists are still people doing what they want. Isn’t that something commendable on its own? They wanted to make a change so they committed to the process.Now, with the exhibition almost within reach and with my piece waiting to be on show, I feel a sense of hesitation. This is not uncommon for me to feel. I worry that my piece will be misunderstood or overlooked, a worry I share with some of the other artists. But if you intend to go to our exhibition, please keep an open mind and enjoy it. I know a lot of love has gone into the creation of what will be on display.The  Educating for Sustainable Lifestyles through the Arts project aims to create an opportunity through the arts for NCD awareness, advocacy and wider community education to stimulate focused and wider public NCD-dialogue in Fiji.The  Educating for Sustainable Lifestyles through the Arts project is supported by the Ministry of Health, FNU College of Medicine, Nursing and Health and AusAID.Sian Rolls is one of the 20 artists part of the Educating for Sustainable Lifestyles through the Arts project, a community radio producer/broadcaster and a Politics and Journalism major at the University of the South Pacific.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Liquid sunshine

It poured outside but Bernadette Rounds-Ganilau brightened the studio and turned the rain into liquid sunshine.

As she and I talked to prepare her and myself for the live interview, she shared that the issues of her generation were mine too.

This was the worry.

The equality and recognition of women in leadership, in areas of development, despite generations of campaigning seemed fruitless; women and their involvement were still a non-issue.

Why was this? Simply the clutter of development. The focus has always been on the band-aid solutions of road fixing and other infrastructural issues.

Women knew all the issues and found themselves put second. More than half the population is pushed aside and put with the sewing machines and occasional tokenism.

Perhaps it is the women themselves that need to affirm their need and right to be involved in development issues that do not seem to be “woman’s work”.

Maybe these past three generations are forgetting to talk to each other. I have been privileged to have my mother and grandmother teach me what the movement has done ans support my entry into it.

While I stand ready to train young women to join what I am part of, as I hope I am doing with my training of the young Maria through the Morning Waves breakfast show on femTALK 89FM, I hope to see the ripples echo our youth.

Development is not simply work for men or women, but for the society as a whole. We women just wish to be included; that is why we do what we do.

We thank those that had come before us, we remember them being with us.

While Bernadette had left the studio for a whole hour, Maria turned to me at the end of the shift and said, “You can still smell Mrs Ganilau's perfume!”

Her impression did not just permeate the studio, but I felt energised and looked at the pouring rain and for a second did not feel the dread of the soaked walk I was going to take, but looked forward to the sun rising on Suva's newly cleaned buildings and plants.

I looked forward to the freshness after the rain.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Puff puff cough

I have a bad habit and its name is smoking.

I haven't always been a smoker but it is my firm belief that I am not that bad when it comes to smoking.

Visit LF for more of these!

To be fair I only ever smoke when I'm relaxing. This was on the recommendation of my uncle, the Padre James.

Unfortunately with the massive influx of a heap of stress, I've taken to attempt to relax a lot. I have found that my smoking increases as stress does because the need or, to be true, the wish for relaxation increases.

I stress about a lot of things. I tend to worry. This does mean that I stress easily. I stress about work, about university assignments, classes and life in general.

Although after two blood pressure checks, Sunday and today (the latter being for a project I'm part of - info to follow later, I guess?) I don't actually have a medical problem because of it, so that's good. To be fair, I'm not the healthiest feeling person and I know there's a billion ways that I can improve but I guess the important thing is to GET CHECKED.

All that aside, I'm a lazy human being. I'm not uber healthy because of this. Now, my smoking of course tends to make me lazier. So, I suppose upon this realisation and knowing that I need to make a change at some point means I want to start now.

That said, I do plan on keeping my smoking where my drinking is: a social activity bystander. I will not smoke unless I feel like it anyway, but I guess I'll save it for a time that I know I'll enjoy it.

So with that, I guess I wanna throw some advice to the wind. I read somewhere that things like alcohol and cigarettes should never be something you think you need to have or consume, but rather should be something you enjoy. Your health is your business and so you need to figure out how you work and try to keep everything is check.

They say health is wealth and I've been pretty poor of pocket so I might as well try to pull myself up by my ears knowing only I can change myself.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

the problem i have with the internet

I live in a developing country and it doesnt suck but often makes me super sad when im sitting at my computer.
I dont own a credit card, I can barely find games I want to play and internet here is way too expensive. I didnt realise all of this until i went to melbourne and then to the US.
over there, internet prices drop like nobodys business because of the simple supply/demand rule with competition.
everyone elesewhere is like "look! CHOICES!"
apps, cloud storage, etc etc etc...
all my excitement is dampened because..well... internet here is not reliable. YES IM TALKING TO YOU, DEAREST ISP.
my internet likes to drop randomly. data is expensive and while in the past few years Ive seen my internet speeds go "woosh" from "neghhhh i'll just stroll" Ive barely seen anything load or download as fast as I have elsewhere.
Maybe im just complaining because when I get to campus or something I get told they wont configure my tablet or phones are not allowed to access the internet and if you want to check your email you have to find a virus-filled computer because silly people manage to fill them with viruses or the school system is just super slow.
maybe im beating a dead horse or poking the internet guardians in the eye by saying I DO NOT LIKE THIS Y U NO PROVIDE BETTER INTERWEBS TO ME.
ah well.
3rd world problems of the privileged.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A massively productive day.

I did recordingerings!

Find my music here!

Also, if you want to watch me sing:

and here:
and lastly: