Victor is a Samoan dancer who lives and works in Wyndham and founded the all male Samoan traditional group called TAMA TATAU. Victor is a part of Wyndham Cultural Centre’s Ghost Light series where he will be performing a short Samoan dance piece.
Who is Victor? Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work as an artist.
I’m Samoan, born in New Zealand. I moved to Melbourne in 2011 for work and loved the city ever since. I’ve been dancing for over 20 years through church and different Polynesian groups specialising in samoan dance.
You run an all male Samoan traditional dance group located in the West called TAMA TATAU. Can you tell us a little bit about this dance group and why you wanted to start it?
I originally started my own group called TATAU in NZ in 2009 and then when I moved to Melbourne in 2011 I found that there was an opportunity to start a samoan dance group in Victoria because there were no other Samoan groups at the time and the city was diverse with many different cultures so being able to share my culture through dance was my passion. We are an all male group who bear the Samoan traditional tattoo called the Tatau so our name TAMA means Man/male and TATAU means Tattoo.
You were involved in the project Congress by All the Queens Men at Wyndham City Council. Congress is a Citizens Assembly that gives voices to the often unheard. What was your involvement in Congress and can you tell us a little bit about what you performed and why?
Our involvement with Congress was the dance component. We incorporated our culture & identity through movements combining western influence through the music we danced to and our attire we had on. It was a great way to connect with other artists with different backgrounds.
What is your connection to Wyndham and how does it inspire you and your work?
Being from the Western suburbs and getting involved with Congress through Wyndham, I feel that Wyndham has given us a great platform to be able to connect with other artists within our community and also be able to share our culture. I am looking forward to working closely with Wyndham when there are more opportunities in the future.
How has the current COVID-19 situation, if at all, affected your work? What are your fears and hopes throughout this time?
Covid-19 has impacted our group because every year we are fortunate enough to be part of harmony multicultural events with various councils within Victoria and this usually happens around March-April and we had a list of bookings to perform at weddings and birthdays which have been either cancelled or postponed. I had also planned on running workshops for kids between 5-16years. I don’ t have any fears at all because I know when the restrictions ease then people will start to book again. I would love to be able to connect with Wyndham and run online workshops.