I absolutely love my Samoan culture, but when it comes to choosing one of its aspects that I value the most, I would say, the traditional dance or the Siva Samoa. Siva is the Samoan word for dance, but it also refers to a particular type of dance in which the performer usually stands and enacts an everyday activity. As depicted in one of the images selected for my final graphic collage, the performer usually wears a tuiga, a headdress made of feathers, shells, pearls, and human hair. Growing up, I was mostly selected by the elders and often volunteered to perform the siva samoa and dressed in my cultural attire. According to the picture of myself wearing the headdress, that was actually my last Siva Samoa performed back home, before I moved to Washington for college. I feared the fact that it would’ve been my last opportunity to embrace one of my favorite cultural aspects; however, I was wrong.
When I arrived at Washington State University, the Multicultural Student Services introduced WSU’s Pacific Islanders Club on my last day of my Fall Alive orientation. I was extremely excited and very grateful for the opportunity offered at WSU not only to embrace my cultural dance, but also the cultural dances of the many Pacific Islands. I immediately joined the club, and was recruited as one of the Pacific cultural dance teachers for the Pacific Islanders Club. On the bottom right hand corner of my graphic collage is featured a total of five ladies including myself, posted in front of the WSU sign and dressed in red and black puletasis (Samoan two-piece daily attire for women). That is our team of dance teachers for PIC at WSU. One of the major annual events at WSU that we prepare most of our dances for is the Dad’s Weekend, which occurs usually in the month of November.The top 2 images of my graphic collage were taken at PIC’s Dad’s Weekend Luau events. The picture of me dressed in a coconut bra, hula skirt, and a headband was taken during my fast Tahitian solo number in 2010. The picture of me and my PIC dancers in green was one of our recent performances, the Hawaiian slow hula, in 2011.
In contrast from my draft graphic collage, I have maintained my background image, a picture of my homeland- the island of American Samoa, but I have put more strength into the looks of the image by adding some more vibrance and saturation to it. I have disregarded one of my group performances images with a more interesting one (PIC ladies dressed in green), and focused more on adding creative and faded edges on it. According to the two pictures of myself, I have separated the images from their original backgrounds, so to give a more different, but attractive look to the overall collage. And it is with great excitement that I share this graphic collage to embrace the passion that I have for my Pacific cultural dances, whether or not I am in or out of the islands. For there is saying that goes- “You can take the girl out of the island, but you can never take the island out of the girl.”