What does the world of Pasifika Futurism look like? How do we express our native traditions, immigrant culture, and queerness in one body? Join us for the final event in our Celebrating Our HeART-filled Heritage series by Oakland native, SPULU.
Through the lens of SPULU (a creative entrepreneur, storyteller, and multidisciplinary performing artist), the audience is guided through a ninety-minute experience of dance, movement, fashion, and film. SPULU will share stories highlighting the juxtaposition between preserving Native Tongan traditions by way of immigrant parents and finding balance with the reality of life for Tongan Americans in Oakland. As first generation, he will explore what it means to act as a bridge to honor the past while embracing the challenge of establishing roots in the melting pot.
“Pasifika Futurism: The SPULU Experience” will showcase customs and traditions through various art forms to express the impact social issues has on the relationship one has with self, their family, their community and the world around them. By inviting you to see the world as SPULU sees it, our hope is that people walk away with an awareness of embracing our connection to one another, embracing the uniqueness and individuality of each story, and embracing the call to action to use these two things to bring about change through what was, what is, and what’s to come.
The event will feature a marketplace of vendors and community resources as well as snacks and beverages before the show. Arrive early to snag a seat!
By way of Tongan South Pacific Roots, Ohlone Territory (Oakland, CA), and proud immigrant parents, SPULU is a creative entrepreneur, storyteller and multidisciplinary performing artist whose work has been showcased all over the world via social media in response to social issues facing Pasifika communities throughout the diaspora.
SPULU uses several mediums of art and movement as a form of resistance and protest while building community. Some of the recent work and involvements which celebrate SPULU include: earning a Bachelor of Arts in Dance with a focus in Race and Resistance studies from San Francisco State University, being featured at Oakland’s 2022 Life is Living Festival, participated in the Levi’s Pride 2019 International campaign, co-created a custom NIKE shoe (AirMax 95s), invited as a featured designer for custom pieces in a body positivity fashion show formerly known as MyBodyUTAH but now called MyBodyInclusive, and last, has had work featured in 2016 Pacific Worlds Display at Oakland Museum of California, a display in De Young Museum, San Francisco HipHop International Festival, Queer Rebel Festival and 2020 Black Joy Parade.
SPULU’s work stems from his early active engagement in the community as a youth advocate in programs like AYPAL Oakland, Californians For Justice, Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company, Culture Shock Oakland, EBAYC, and Mosaic Project. Programs like these have provided a platform and space that allowed artists/activists like SPULU to discover the impact and power their voice has had as a proud representative in their respective communities. In an effort to share their vision for change, SPULU’s ultimate goal is to share their talent and story to celebrate the parts of us that often go unseen/unheard in hopes of inspiring others to find their own voice and to go and do the same.
Akhil Joondeph (he/they) is a dancer, dance teacher, student, and choreographer from the San Francisco Bay Area. He has trained extensively in Odissi and other indigenous South Asian dance forms, as well as various other disciplines, including contemporary, modern, and hip hop. In his work, he strives to find connections between the various artistic disciplines he has studied, while opening and embodying questions and stories pertinent to today’s world. He is particularly interested in exploring critical and diverse perspectives on modern South Asia, and conjuring these critiques through modes of whole-body practice like dance. He is currently performs and collaborates with the Ishami Dance Company in the San Francisco Bay Area. Akhil is currently an undergraduate student at Wesleyan University studying Anthropology and Dance.
A special thank you to our program partner Parivar, and our marketing sponsor Ethnic Media Services.
ABOUT THE SERIES
“Celebrating Our HeART-filled Heritage” champions local Asian and Asian Pacific Islander performing artists, with the goal of providing a platform for accomplished local performing artists and exposing our diverse community in the East Bay to compelling, culturally relevant artists and performances that inspire intergenerational and cross-cultural exchange. The performing arts series is supported in part by the Walter and Elise Haas Fund.
Donations are appreciated and no one will be turned away for lack of funds.