News & Insights

Q&A with Ripley Kavara from FAMILI

A powerful night of music, movement and mental restoration.

We Take Back Our Mother Tongues is a blockbuster evening created by a huge collective of queer Pasifika and Bla(c)k artists in which live music, DJ sets and visual and video installations weave a complex tapestry of Oceanic culture.

We asked Creative Director, Ripley Kavara to share some insight into the creative process and meaning behind this powerful night of music, movement and mental restoration.

1. Can you tell us more about the importance of storytelling and ownership in the process of creating We Take Back Our Mother Tongues? 

Storytelling is a tool used in many cultures and is one that is embedded in so many cultural expressions of the people involved in FAMILI. We draw upon it and make sense of our place in the world, in relation to place and each other. The idea of authorship when telling these stories is crucial, as we are able to maintain agency with the stories that are gifted to us, and the ones that we shape in our own being.  


2. The work blends contemporary electronic music with traditional instruments such as conch shells, log drums and other instruments to reflect your various cultures. Tell us more about the experience artists have had with celebrating their culture and identity among the diasporas? 

In rare moments when the artists have come together, we have witnessed them tap into a deep sense of connection, of belonging, and of reflection. To be able to access these feelings through the power of music both ancestral and current, to be able to rejoice in the joy of being through an interconnected web of relations and voyaging, is one that we feel so privileged to experience. We look forward to sharing this journey with you. 


3. Your artist statement mentions responding to the 4 classical elements, can you describe how these relate to the work? 

The classical elements provide a container for which the artists can explore deeper conversations and topics. With Water, we explore themes of acknowledgement, spirituality, climate change, and time. Through Air, we explore ideas of shifting power, challenge, and revolution. In Fire, we explore the nature of beauty, sexuality, hair, gender, transformation, empowerment, re-creation and diaspora. With Earth, we explore ideas of home including my ancestral lands of PNG, family, and the West Papuan Liberation movement. 


4. Are there any messages behind We Take Back Our Mother Tongues that you would like to share?

End Blak Deaths in Custody! Papua Merdeka! Black Lives Matter! 


We Take Back Our Mother Tongues – FAMILI
Fri 6 & Sat 7 May, 2022, 7.30pm

GA $20 / BLAKTIX $10

Tickets can be booked here

Related News & Insights:


The making of FAMILI

An artist statement by Ripley Kavara