MALI'E'

moving. as. lyric. invokes. energy
movement. activation. lyrics. intuition. evocation.

Photography: Futsum Tsegai

MALI’E is a cultural resurgence project engaging performance research as a methodology to explore indigenous worldviews and empower Matao communities to embody liberation with ancestral knowing.

 

The project draws from the traditional Matao practice of embodied, improvisatory, collective, singing where oral history and prophecy converge to reclaim the spiritual and political power of the oral historian.

As a vessel for ongoing knowledge development, MALI'E makes life through

| film |

| dance |

| sound design |

| outdoor ceremonial activation |

| performance | 

| online events |

| and yet to be known forms.

 

Photography: Futsum Tsegai

 

mali'e' | tåno' uchan |

Currently on tour, MALI'E' | Tåno' Uchan | invites the community to witness a Navigator unfold a universe from within their bag.

The Navigator journeys through their own family history, dancing rituals of respect and reciprocity with the territories and cultures of Oceanic, Black, & Native Turtle Island communities that have guided their canoe back home, despite the colonial lie that home/culture has been lost. As an Indigenous Pacific Islander, Camacho uses an auto-ethnographic lens to choreograph a spiritual grounded, yet critical, ceremonial response to ongoing colonization, displacement, and attempted genocide.

Creation Stories work as allegories for how the diasporized navigate violent displacement

like seafarers wayfind through storms and

Photography: Naomi Ishisaka

endless oceans. MALI’E' | Tåno’ Uchan functions as a ritual empowerment for the seafarer navigating the rek/newal of indigenous well-being amidst state-sponsored drug trafficking, militarized borders, private prisons, land and cultural dispossession. Camacho explores the creative potential of Matao language, chant, and dance on a journey towards ethical ways of being with Oceanic, Black, and Native Turtle Island movement and song traditions.

The work premiered at Northwest New Works at On the Boards in 2019 and was also presented at the 32nd Annual Weesageechak Begins to Dance Festival in T:karon'to (Toronto, Canada) with support from a 2019 Artist Trust GAP Award, and at the Tribal Gathering in Panama.

Tåno' Uchan was also presented as a work-in-progress at Skidmore College, at Indigenous Now! event at Tongva Park in Tongva Territory/Santa Monica with support from Dancing Earth. Tåno' Uchan was also presented as a distillation at the Forterra's Ampersand Live 2019,  and Pridefest 2020.

 

Photography: Kaytee Dalton for Weesageechak Begins to Dance Festival

|:|:|

Photography: Naomi Ishisaka

This research endeavor invites a cohort of Matao artists to unearth shared tactics of joy, loss, struggle, and resilience for families amidst ongoing settler colonization. Participants will collectively engage  the emergent auto-ethnochoreographic methodology to deepen the articulation of cultural concepts, develop community powered ceremonies for personal and collective healing, and re-k/new inafa’maolek—harmony, balance, and unity with Creation.


The project will live in ||| parts in collaboration with the Matao lunar calendar.

| will happen throughout digital and physical spaces to rupture & reveal the notions of disconnection between the homeland/Diaspora while affirming our different experiences as strengths in our collective liberation.

|| will activate a public Laboratory space for learning, developing, and imagining Matao knowing by engaging fino' håya, cultural practices, and embodiment. As communities come together to exchange ceremony, food, creativity, and life ways the  physical space emerges encoded with the artworks as living record of the values and philosophies of indigenous autonomous zones.

||| will celebrate the end and the beginning of a cycle.

|:|:| has been made possible with support from the National Performance Network's Creation Fund, On the Boards (dxʷdəwʔabš Territory/Seattle, USA), Pacific Islander Ethnic Arts Museum (Tongva Territory/LA, USA), Dancing Earth (Ogaa Pohge & Yelamu / Santa Fe & San Francisco, USA), & 4Culture (dxʷdəwʔabš Territory/Seattle, USA).

HIGHER.INFINITE.POWER.HEALING.OUR.PEOPLE.

Photography: Naomi Ishisaka

In the first installment, higher.infinite.power.healing.our.people explored MALI'E' as a call-and-response between the the spirit of the griot and the MALI'E', the emcee and the CHamoru poet. It explores the question, how can a Matao person approach hip hop as a sacred space that belongs to the Black people? How do I honor my ancestral and creative lineages? How does Matao philosophy orient me towards embodying relationship in integrity and responsibility?

The name of the piece acknowledges a maxim of Professor Griff that Gabriel Teodros used to share with me all the time.

This piece was presented as part of the Performance Lab at On the Boards.

Photography: Naomi Ishisaka

© 2018 by Dakota Camacho