Eric Theodore Fakatovolea Soakai
Sāmoan / Tongan / German Performance Artist & Poet based in South Auckland
Postcards Unlocked #27
My introduction into the Arts was via my family. Both my older brothers Dietrich and Zech are established Spoken Word Artists, and so I naturally stumbled into poetry having these two awesome people as mentors to look up to. It started out as something I did, kind of just to hang out with/around them, but I ended up realizing I really enjoyed the craft itself too. The thrill of being on stage, mixed with a dope community that supports me, really solidified that Spoken Word, but also more broadly the Arts is a space that’s definitely for me!
This is done through a healthy mix of therapy, meditation and recollecting/reminiscing with those who have shared past experiences with me. (Re)Telling important narratives that intertwine with my own embodiment for me is a form of advocacy I really enjoy being part of. Whether it’s telling the tales about immigration through and around the Pacific, and what it means to exist as a diasporic being. Or my own experiences of growing up ‘Working-Class’ in ‘Upper-Class’ spaces, and the performative nature of being the ‘token brown’ in that space.
A project I’m working on right now, which I started during my Indigenous Story Tellers Residency in Banff Canada, earlier this year, is my first Poetry Theatre show ‘Stray Dogs Howling’. Which will be based around the idea of animism of the Pasifika male. Playing on the idea that we are only indigenous, because we whakapapa back to somewhere, in the same way the ‘Stray Dog’ is only ‘stray’ because it had/has a home. What would it mean for the prodigal son to return to the village, what would it mean for the stray dog to come home? Exploring less of the trauma of the journey of what chains us and looking more at the healing that frees us.