Talking inspiration, wisdom, and karaoke with Asian Aotearoa Arts Hui artists and speakers

Talking inspiration, wisdom, and karaoke with Asian Aotearoa Arts Hui artists and speakers

This weekend sees the 2018 Asian Aotearoa Arts Hui come to Wellington, and its opening party is happening here on Friday 21 September. Expect art and poetry mood machines, fortune cookies, karaoke, workshops, and talks.

Here, we asked three artists and speakers about their favourite karaoke jams and the best wisdom they’re ever received.

Vanessa Crofskey, Eric Ngan, and Alice Canton. Photos courtesy of the Vanessa Crofskey, Eric Ngan, and Alice Canton

Looking at the festival and symposium programme, who are you most excited to meet/spend time with?

Eric Ngan, event producer for Auckland’s Lantern and Diwali Festivals: There’s too many awesome people to choose from – AAAH! (See what I did there 😉.) But I’m keen reconnect and enjoy a vino with Lynda Chanwai Earle – she’s been at the forefront of this Hui’s kaupapa since forever.

Vanessa Crofskey, artist, theatre producer, and Auckland’s reigning slam poetry champion: I’ve heard great things about Yuk King Tan and Vera May.

I think mostly though, I’m just excited to be surrounded by a group of Asian artists and practitioners, diverse in experience, origins, and opinion. To be in a space where you are not isolated because of identity or ethnicity.

Alice Canton, performer and theatre-maker: I’m actually most excited about the collective force of Asian artists and Asian art enthusiasts that will all be in one space and one time for a finite moment – it’s electric just thinking about it.

The line-up is so dope, Emma and Kerry-Anne and the whole team have really pulled together some of the finest practitioners I can name – a testament to their work and kaupapa.

What’s the best wisdom you’ve ever received?

EN: People say: “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.” I say: “Bite off, and chew madly!”

VC: Probably my mum, when she told me to drink barley when I felt sick, or to go to the dentist before any teeth start hurting.

AC: Bitch up.

What’s your go-to karaoke song?

EN: Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen

VC: Breaking Free by High School Musical

AC: You Outta Know by Alanis Morissette, and then Black Velvet if I’m with my mate Andrew Paterson and we’re feeling like a sexy duet.

What inspires you?

EN: Creative passion, in all its forms. And pork buns – that savoury sweet BBQ pork filling, wrapped in a fluffy cloud of steaming goodness.

VC: I think I’m more interested in motivation as opposed to inspiration. It feels more like a call to action.

I’m motivated by mentors, whoever and however they come; by those who continue to change the game and pave way for discussion and experimentation; by the work ethic of migrant parents and families; by a sense of duty to integrity, and the value of a new audience.

I’m motivated by ongoing conversations over beers in a carpark and the mythical power of narrative to reshape former understandings.

By boredom and excitement.

AC: Art, music, theatre, open spaces, second-hand shops, architecture, dance, choreography, composition, politics, activism, fabric, and dog memes.

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