Essay: Art, Propaganda and Otherness
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Preamble by David Freedom RoseWhen researching how places have been peopled, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: for a time a group of people might live in isolation (sometimes for a very long time), but eventually by land or water travellers will come, alternatively they themselves will travel and will come to meet the Other. There is something incredibly beautiful and liberating about the following insight by renowned geneticist Professor David Reich, mixing is in human nature, and no one population is - or could be - "pure" . Therefore, if racial purity exists at all, it is in Humanity as a whole and purity is really diversity.
Otherness depends on identity - it relates to belonging (or not belonging) to a particular People and/or a particular Place.
Where do I belong? What am I? And who are my people?
On Earth. Human. Everyone.
Is this a white perspective? Is it too abstract and radical? Is it true? Is humanism at odds with cultural identity?
Let's find out.
This essay is the personal story of an artist and a writer coming to terms with their responsibility to consult with communities who they represent in a published creative work. In doing so it functions in some way as an exploration of their own identity, their own place in the world.
It is also an endeavour to reach out to First Nations individuals and communities in the Pacific.
The Power of Words: Empathy
There is power in art, power in words - power to move, inspire and sublimate.
I was teased awfully as a child and I would hear other children say "sticks and stones may break my bones, but calling names won't hurt me". It didn't seem to matter how often (or how loud) I recited that chant, the pain would not go away - eventually I learnt that it wasn't so much the words that were said, but the feelings behind them. It was the emotion with which they were expressed that gave them power to hurt- I was and am sensitive to both language and the emotions of others.
My intention with creating a fictional contact community in Oceania is not to hurt, but quite the opposite. I hope to use words to ultimately inspire and uplift, but also to challenge. Art, especially street art (my kind of art), can often be challenging and risky. I intend to tread carefully, aware that sometimes on my journey I might nevertheless stumble, or accidently tread on someone's toes.
We all have different degrees of sensitivity to different influences. In criminology 'intent' matters. I think the same is true in life and in artistic endeavour. The point is I am also sensitive to the feelings and reactions of others. Though I have learnt over 63 years that I am not responsible for other peoples feelings, I am required to take notice of them and respect them. I am responsible for what I think, say and do.
I would also add that as a writer I am challenged to be courageous - and write!
Learning from Experience
The last time I undertook a major creative project is was a screen play for a feature drama that ended up with a working title "Turkey Terror and the Warriors of Love". The work involved .....
[to be continued]
Working Notes - Money
Mariner [was a 14 yr old English cabin boy adopted by Tongan cheif who] gave a lively description of Fīnau Fangupō (ʻUlukālala II), in particular. In one passage, Mariner quoted Fīnau's opinion of the Western innovation of money: If money were made of iron and could be converted into knives, axes and chisels there would be some sense in placing a value on it; but as it is, I see none. If a man has more yams than he wants, let him exchange some of them away for pork. [...] Certainly money is much handier and more convenient but then, as it will not spoil by being kept, people will store it up instead of sharing it out as a chief ought to do, and thus become selfish. [...] I understand now very well what it is that makes the papālangi [non-Polynesians] so selfish – it is this money! 
Welcome to Hearts and Minds—A QTAPI Community Conversation Series, Session Two: Asians and Pacific Islanders: Our Future Determines Our Past... About the Speakers
Queer Asians and Pacific Islanders: Our Future Determines Our Past Speakers: Peter Tuiolosega Silva (Executive Director of Kumukahi Health + Wellness), Amy Sueyoshi (Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University) and Helen Zia (author of Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People). 
- Prof David Reich, 2018 , Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past, YouTube video lecture from the Harvard Museum of Natural History sourced 29th Mar, 2022
- The Commonwealth Club of California, 2021 , Queer Asians and Pacific Islanders: Our Future Determines Our Past, YouTube video discussion panel from the The Commonwealth Club of California sourced 11th Apr, 2022