Poems and Songs from the Underwater World

11 04 2011

A short chat with Daren Kamali, performance poet, youth worker and musician. Daren will launch his new bilingual poetry book, Poems and Songs from the Underwater World at Fresh Gallery Otara in the first week of the Pacific Arts Summit…

Tell us about your new book, Poems and Songs from the Underwater World

This is a book / CD compilation, a book with visual (illustrations by Leahna Gill, animations by Munro Te Whata) written words (tales, poems and songs) and a CD recording of spoken word / songs recorded at Otara Music Arts Centre (OMAC). This collection of the Underwater World expresses my connection to the ocean and the islands featuring sea creatures and island imagery that signifies important people and places in my life.

How did you meet the team (Editor – Robert Sullivan, Fijian translator – Apolonia Tamata, Illustrator – Leahna Gill) who have collaborated with you to make this project a reality?

I first met the editor of my writings Robert Sullivan last year and enrolled in his creative writing Diploma at the Faculty of Creative Arts (Manukau Institute of Technology) this year. I met Dr Apolonia Tamata (translator of my writings into Fijian) for the first time at the Pacific Arts Association Symposium in Rarotonga last August, and later got to facilitate a five day intensive indigenous workshop for her through the Fijian Trust Fund Board in Suva, Fiji, which was also funded by Creative New Zealand. I met Leahna on Facebook; after seeing her paintings on her page I knew it was appropriate for my book and she agreed so it all flowed from there. Also the other animator Munro Te Whata I met this year at the same creative writing course, I love his work, he gives a certain reality to the visuals in my book which is refreshing.

The Pacific Arts Association Symposium on Tagata Pasifika (August 2010)

With your work in published anthologies of Pacific and New Zealand poetry, it’s a real honour to host your launch here at Fresh Gallery Otara. What do you enjoy about time and space in South Auckland?

I’ve always been a Central [Auckland] boy but over the last two years, South Auckland has been my home giving me another burst of creativity energy, lighting up a fire to move forward with my visions which have inspired this combination of poetry, sound and visual arts to create something innovative like this. Thanks South Auckland and Fresh Gallery Otara for supporting my vision. I feel like I’m growing in leaps and bounds as a writer/creator since I moved south… blessup.

Where can people buy your book?

It’ll be available on the night (Thursday 5 May). I’m currently talking to a few publishers and have just sent my manuscript to Huia Publishers, fingers crossed at the mo’… hear back from them soon. Will keep everyone posted on sales and availability of product as soon as I can… Vinaka.

So… what’s next for Daren Kamali?

To push my book/CD in NZ, around the Pacific and internationally… to complete my creative writing Diploma by the end of 2011… to keep facilitating creative youth workshops, keep leading South Auckland Poets Collective into the future. Most of all stay true to my artistic visions and to who I really am as a man, a father and a believer in all things possible and positive.

Vinaka vakalevu Daren!

Daren’s first bilingual poetry book, Poems and Songs from the Underwater World launches at Fresh Gallery Otara in the first week of the Pacific Arts Summit. An exhibition of original works by Leahna Gill will also be on display from 3-7 May.

Book Launch: Poems and Songs from the Underwater World by Daren Kamali
When: 6pm, Thursday 5 May
Fresh Gallery Otara, Otara Town Centre, South Auckland

Come along and meet the poet! A free event! All welcome!



3 responses

18 04 2011
Piniana Tokavou

this is just awesome, having to put together the talents of young stars who are out there waiting to be discovered.
I was one of Daren Kamali’s student at the five day workshop in Fiji, and i really learnt a lot from him and his wife Grace Taylor.

19 04 2011
Colour Me Fiji

Bula Piniana!
Thanks for your comment! Daren is one of our Fiji art stars, I can’t wait to see his new book of poetry!! Will post photos from his book launch in May!
Vinaka vakalevu,
Ema Tavola

16 04 2014

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