AFI LOA – Celebrating the Power of Pacific Women
The Auckland Art Gallery is set to screen a captivating film that breathes new life into the remarkable story of the Virgin Taupou Grave in Saleaula Savaii, Samoa. “AFI LOA,” directed by the exceptionally talented Charlene Tedrow, takes us on a mesmerizing journey that explores the power of lava and its parallel existence within the tama’ita’i, the women of the Pacific. Through this awe-inspiring performance, the film pays homage to the rise of women in the realm of siva afi, the fire dance, and celebrates their strength and resilience. Join us as we delve into the magic of “AFI LOA” and learn more about the visionaries behind this extraordinary creation.
Inspired by the eruption of Mt Matavanu and the unscathed “Virgin Taupou Grave” in Saleaula Savaii, “AFI LOA” tells the tale of a young Taupou, the high chief’s daughter, whose grave was protected by the flowing lava due to her purity. Guided by the gods Mafui’e, Pele, and Ruaumoko, she embarks on a transformative journey across the moana, discovering the profound power of fire. This narrative serves as a reminder of our profound connection with the elements and honors the Pasifika sisters who bravely navigate their own fiery journeys.
Charlene Tedrow, the visionary director behind “AFI LOA,” brings her extensive experience in teaching, choreography, and indigenous dance forms to the forefront. With over two decades of honing her craft, Charlene has become a gifted weaver of Pacific dance and Yogic practices. Her dedication shines through in all aspects of her life, from her community work to live entertainment and film.
Guided by a team of cultural advisors including Maua Miller, Aulii Mitchell, and Kimoro Taiepa, Charlene ensures the authenticity and respect for the cultural heritage of the Pacific islands. Together, they have crafted a compelling narrative that showcases the strength and beauty of Pacific traditions.
Peter Hobbs, the mastermind behind the soundscape, creates an immersive audio experience that complements the visual journey. His expertise adds depth and emotion to the storytelling, creating an even more profound impact on the audience.
Ben Mikha, the cinematographer and editor, brings his artistic vision to life through breathtaking visuals and seamless editing. His expertise captures the essence of the performances, elevating the storytelling to new heights.
Performers: The film showcases the remarkable talent of Katerina Fatupaito, Lomina-Meteri Araitia, Saofaigalii Veronica Tulafasa, as well as the Wāhine Toa Siva Afi, Melanie Tia, Emillie Elizabeth Lovett, and Hadassah Tagoai. These incredible artists embody the fire within as they mesmerize the audience with their skilful movements and passion for the art form.
Charlene’s Biography: Originally from Samoa, Charlene Tedrow has dedicated her life to the development and adaptation of Pacific indigenous dance forms and Yogic practices. With a Bachelor of Performing Arts degree, majoring in Dance from Auckland University, Charlene has become a beacon of empowerment and community transformation through dance.
Charlene’s passion for working with women and children shines through in her initiatives, including the founding of Ura Tabu Pacific Dance. For over 14 years, Ura Tabu Pacific Dance has served the Pacific communities, utilizing dance as a powerful platform for self-expression, self-awareness, creativity, and empowerment.
Conclusion: “AFI LOA” is a testament to the power and resilience of Pacific women. Through Charlene Tedrow’s visionary direction and the immense talent of the performers, this film breathes new life into an ancient tale and celebrates the rise of women in the domain of siva afi. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the magic unfold at the Auckland Art Gallery and immerse yourself in the beauty of Pacific dance and storytelling. Let “AFI LOA” ignite your spirit and leave you in awe of the indomitable strength of Pacific women.