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One wave festival.

I'm a big enthusiast of festival culture, which is why I love being part of One Wave: I get to co-create a festival that inspires people to get involved in making change.

I first became acquainted with PPP when I was hired to coordinate the second One Wave Festival six years ago. Since that time, the Festival has seen an incredible array of arts mediums, from slam poetry and storytelling to South and North Pacific dance and drumming, reggae shows, hip hop jams, art exhibitions, participatory art projects, theatre, chalk art, live painting, and traditional carving.

It's been a place for emerging artisans to sell their up-cycled, natural, and locally-made products. We've showcased an eclectic mix of artists--traditional and contemporary, professional and emerging, North and South--sharing thought-provoking performances. We've opened up space for dialogue about colonial histories, cultural appropriation, social justice, climate change, and our shared oceans. We've developed a diverse network of followers and our youth-driven committee has learned much from our mentors, PPP's Executive Director, April Ingham, foremost among them.

One Wave aims to build Pacific identity and community, nurture change-makers, and engage youth. We utilize the power of the arts to inspire action on shared concerns and issues that affect the peoples of the Pacific because we recognize our communities are interdependent. We do this by creating a celebratory and inclusive atmosphere. PPP and our partners are part of a solidarity movement--one wave --connecting the North and South Pacific.

This was never clearer to me than at our 8th annual festival in September 2015, our largest production yet as we combined it with PPP's Pacific Networking Conference. A major theme was indigenous cultural resurgence, with inspiring speakers, artists, and filmmakers. A boundary-pushing performance by Anneda Loup and Coast Salish artist Francis Dick showed how artistic collaborations between indigenous people and settlers can be a powerful community-level approach to reconciliation. A highlight that really captivated the audience was 14-year-old Ta'Kaiya Blaney of the Sliammon Nation and Kalilah Rampanen, of Cree heritage. The girls sang and spoke passionately about climate change and the importance of keeping cultures alive.

In 2015 we were particularly honoured to have the blessing of Elder Joan Morris of the Songhees Nation, in addition to our friends Augie Thomas and the Esquimalt Singers and Dancers who regularly open our main stage as the event is held with gratitude on their traditional territories.

Interactive installations, an arts station, and roaming human-sized puppets invited community members of all ages to be participants rather than simply observers. Victoria's downtown Centennial Square has become an important venue for One Wave because it's design is open and accessible, paving the way for PPP to raise its profile with members of the public.

Over the years, we've engaged thousands of people and also raised our profile in the non-profit community by providing an important platform for social, environmental, and indigenous organizations and local artisans to connect with the public too.

One Wave Festival would not continue to happen without immense contributions from our volunteers, staff, contributing artists, funders, partners, and supporters who keep showing up year after year. I'm so proud of what we've achieved, and I'm excited for what we will create together in 2016 and beyond. (See Kat Zimmer profile, p.25.)

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Kat Zimmer - Vice-President of the Board
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Author:Zimmer, Kat
Publication:Tok Blong Pasifik
Date:Dec 22, 2015
Words:551
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