Toe Fo'i: The Return
March 20 - August 21, 2022
This community exhibit was in collaboration with 5 Pasifika artists engaging the power of storytelling to humanize the numbers behind those lost to COVID-19.
This experience was built upon a series of story-circles held between November 2021-February 2022, reminding visitors that the stories of those lost are the stories of those who survived. Toe Foʻi: The Return is anchored to the role of artists as healers who move us collectively through this hurdle of misinformation, fear, mistrust, and entitlement.
“This process recognizes and elevates our Pasifika artists as storytellers, culture bearers, and healers. It in itself is a return back to indigenous ways of healing,” says Kiana “Kiki” Rivera, Guest Curator.
Toe Foʻi: The Return brings the voices of the community through multidisciplinary art forms. Featuring works by:
Melodie Bergquist-Turori, Ālaoi'a Moni Pili, Roldy Aguero Ablao, Mariquita “Micki” Davis, and Jason “JP” Pereira. In addition, an exterior installation entitled Hoʻokahi (Hawaiian word meaning “to make one”) also created by JP is a visual story of holistic wellness and resilience.
About Kiki Rivera, Guest Curator
As a Storyteller for Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC), Kiki Rivera helps fulfill EPIC’s mission to advance social justice by developing and implementing narrative change strategies. They use creative skills to build political will for the organization’s advocacy agenda and expand its reach in the Pacific Islander community.
As an award-winning theatre artist, educator, and arts activist; Rivera is among a group of grassroots leaders that mobilize resources to empower Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Through their creative talent, Rivera amplifies the collective voice and strengthens the advocacy work of the community organizers.
Lalai: Lullaby, Roldy Aguero Ablao
Trust, Jason "JP" Pereira
There is Still Life
Mariquita "Micki" Davis
CHamoru artist Micki Davis shares her gratitude for the sensuousness of life which inspired her piece.
Roldy Aguero Ablao
A child of Guåhan, CHamoru artist Roldy Ablao blesses the space in dance, with the goal of reminding all who step inside that they are sacred.
Jason "JP" Pereira
PIEAM resident artist, JP, of Samoan ancestry invites community into his piece which captured the fracture in trust amongst people throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Calling community in to finalize the piece, JP reminds us that rebuilding trust begins with you.
Every Stitch A Prayer
Melodie, representing her Cook Islander Maori heritage, created a Tivaevae as a gift of gratitude to community for their vulnerability within the story-circles. It is in this movement of reciprocity that Melodie honors the sacredness of talking story.
Ālaoi'a Moni Pili
Gifted orator, singer, and educator, Samoan artist Moni, shares his gift of song, embodying the heart of Toe Fo'i: The Return.
This exhibit was generously supported by Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC), Vaccinate All 58, and We Can Do This.
Every Stitch A Prayer, Melodie Turori
Tapa Butterfly Memorial Wall, Community