Yesterday was a huge day for the project and me personally.
It began with an early morning birthday call to my mama in Samoa, who turned 60, and is living her dream of being home on country with her partner in life/and all round super dad. My parents embody the meaning of working hard and making things happen. They also show me that grace, forgiveness and positivity can go a long long way. As you can imagine, I'm super proud of them and they are super proud of me.
I then psyched myself up for a star weaving workshop at Queensland's Parliament House on George St, Brisbane. I always try and go to workshops with an open mind, to be be prepared for all kinds of situations - big numbers, no numbers, lots of chatter, quiet vibes, some personal stories and some wanting to give up because they think it's too hard and questions about the installation, who, where, how many are we up to and how does star weaving end violence. I'm dedicating a blog post to that next, so stay tuned. (I'm a bit of a struggle town blogger - justifying it with living more in real time, rather than jotting it all down, but blogs do have their merits and it helps me to reflect and celebrate all the milestones and journeys of this beautiful little project)
The Embracing2018 team from OCG and I ran the workshop in the historic Red Chambers Room. The Chamber is used for ceremonial and other formal occasions, such as the opening of a new parliament following a general election, Estimates Committee hearings and other committee meetings. You can see a picture of the room here. The Parliament has regular free tours which you can check out on this same website.
Minister Kate Jones (Education and Minister for Tourism, Major Events and the Commonwealth Games) greeted us a warm hello, as she always does. I had to smile when she called out to me, "Hey, girlfriend." Love it, Kate. We've done 3 quick events together in the last 2 months, the first at Hilder Road State School in North Brisbane for the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence (Friday 17 March), a photoshoot at Museum of Brisbane with Director Renai Grace and 2 of the Reds Rugby Union players, Alex Mafi and James Tuttle and now yesterday, at her request, I came in to run a star weave jam with some MPs and school students. It was lovely. Lots of colour, lots of celebration at the fact that people could make one, lots of 'ahhs' once the first square is made and lots of selfies and pics.
Left to right (standing) Alex Mafi (Queensland Reds) Renai Grace (Director MOB) and James Tuttle (Queensland Reds). Seated, me and Minister Kate Jones (Kate is wearing her happy dress and I'm wearing my happy shoes). Photo: Embracing2018
The day ended with getting the green light to make the announcement about who will be designing the stars and where will they be displayed. This was huge and I'm so happy and so excited that the project is in this stage now. I'm super pleased to announce that Museum of Brisbane will be designing and fabricating the one million star installation as part of Festival 2018 for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. The GC2018 is a showcase of the Commonwealth's greatest athletes and greater Queensland. Embracing2018 also celebrates this and highlights the other events like art and culture that the host city is connected to.
National Day of Action Against Violence and Bullying, star weave jam at Hilder Road State School and Minister Kate Jones. Photo: Tavina Yettica-Paulson
With Renai Grace, Director of Museum of Brisbane. Can't wait to get started. Photo: Embracing2018
It was the longest photoshoot we did, but it was so worth it. Renai Grace (Director) and her team have an outstanding history of community engagement and creating meaningful and stunning art and displays and I can't wait to work with them and see what evolves.
The countdown is truly on, and it feels like the next few months will fly by. We are focussing on getting Star WEave Communities who have reached their target to send in their stars now and other communities that have reached the end of their star weaving journey. I know for many, they want to keep star weaving forever (me included) and that's super fine, but for this installation to be a reality and a success, we need people to send in their stars as soon as possible. We anticipate a huge flood of stars by the deadline of July 31st, but what would really help us to and the Museum of Brisbane is to get one million stars into headquarters at Human Ventures as soon as possible. Their address again is Human Ventures Suite 3, Level 8, 141 Queen StreetBrisbane City QLD 4001 Australia. Stars are due July 31st for GC2018 installation.
Thank you everyone - star weavers, ribbon cutters, star counters, tea and coffee makers, local media, photographers, those who are helping to organise to pack and send them, those working out how to drop them off to HQ - THANK YOU!!! We could not get this far without you. We would not be able to make a statement as big as this about kindness, peace, love and support is necessary to end violence. One person's voice and star is important, millions of us, together is POWERFUL!!
Blessings and love