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Public invited to free cultural workshop

Artist and filmmaker Galumalemana Steven Percival will give a presentation at the Student Support Services Cultural Workshop taking place this Thursday at 12:30 p.m. in the ASCC Lecture Hall. The event is free and open to the public. [Courtesy Photo]

The Student Support Services (SSS) division of the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) invites the public to join them for a free Cultural Workshop this Thursday featuring artist and filmmaker Galumalemana Steven Percival from the Independent State of Samoa. The workshop will take place this Thursday, April 12, at 12:30 p.m. in the ASCC Lecture Hall.

One of the founding Trustees and currently Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Tiapapata Arts Centre in Samoa, Galumalemana will screen a work in progress titled “O le Aso ma le Fīliga, O le Aso ma le Mata’igātila – exploring the use of natural fibres in Sāmoa.”

The film features the making and use of ‘afa (coconut sennit) and also other Sāmoan material cultural expressions such as the making of the ‘ie sae (very fine mat). “I will also speak about my work as a filmmaker in Sāmoa”, he said, “as well as recent projects such as the lessons learned from the 2009 tsunami, film projects I am currently working on, sharing information on my archives, and exploring interest in collaborating with partners in American Sāmoa.”

Born and raised in Apia, Samoa, Galumalemana graduated in 1980 with a Bachelor of Business Studies from Massey University in New Zealand. After returning to Samoa, together with his wife Wendy he established the Tiapapata Arts Centre, a charitable trust promoting traditional and contemporary arts and crafts in Samoa.

A keen photographer and videographer with a particular interest in the environment and indigenous environmental knowledge, human rights education, and religious freedom, Galumalemana received in 2002 his first grant from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva to produce a documentary film exploring perceptions on human rights in Samoa.

He has since produced two more human rights films, one on issues faced by disabled persons, and another on religious freedom. He describes himself as a primarily self-taught filmmaker, but has also studied filmmaking in courses at Gotland University, Sweden (2007) and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston (2009). Over 30 works produced by Galumalemana are currently listed in his multimedia catalog.

Asked about his matai title, and how he balances his dual roles of filmmaker and matai, he explained, “My title, Galumalemana, was bestowed to me by the late Malietoa Tanumafili II in 1987, one year after I returned from university in New Zealand. Being a matai and an artist, in this case a filmmaker is beneficial for the kind of films I like to produce. Documenting cultural expressions, historical events and issues of the day, to name a few, are easier done when able to speak the language and while holding such a title as Galumalemana.”

The SSS mission is to provide opportunities for academic development, assist students with basic college requirements, and motivate students toward successful completion of their postsecondary education.

As part of the Federal TRIO Program, and in adherence with TRIO Legislation, the SSS may provide exposure to cultural events and academic programs not usually available to disadvantaged students.

_“The film ‘Ole Aso ma le Filiga’ is of particular interest to our students”, said SSS Director Dr. Repeka Alaimoana-Nuusa, “because it highlights a part of their own culture that many of them know little about. This is an educational opportunity that I sincerely hope will provide a unique cultural learning experience, and thus motivate students to grow and excel in learning.”

Galumalemana said he looks forward with great interest in visiting ASCC and sharing his work with the people of American Samoa. An introduction to his multimedia productions can be viewed at www.tiny.cc/fmlrt.



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