Gideon Mana Lorete will be among many artists to take part in “Until Name Becomes Prayer,” Monday, Feb. 26, 7 p.m. at Summit Artspace. The event, which will feature Samoan immigrant, poet and arts educator William Alfred Nu’utupu Giles, is free and open to the public and will pay homage to “every indigenous and immigrant mouth that had to become a history book.” The night is sponsored by Summit Artspace, local artists, local organizations, and community members from all over the country.
Your Medium: Acting, Dancing, Singing, Modeling, Radio Production, Choreography, Theater Production
How do you describe yourself?
“An artist on a mission to create dialogue, movement and noise in hopes of changing the world and people around us.”
What is an object that describes your art and your work?
“A poi ball from New Zealand. Originally, it’s supposed to be only for women–it was a tool founded by the Marquesan women of New Zealand. They use these tools to exercise their wrists to make clothing, shelter and even food with their hands. The men would go hunting and fishing for the food, or even settling arguments with other clans. And so the women created this poi ball so they could exercise their wrists and from then on created a dance out of it, which was then spread around different cultures of Polynesia and even on to American western cultures. Unlike the islands, however, all people men and women were inspired by this art form and was then performed by both. The reason why it represents me is that I come from a very cultured place, Saipan (an island above above Guam in the Northern Marianas Islands), and just like poi balls, although I had made the transition to America and my work has, therefore, been developed by the influences of the Western culture, my art and fire has and will always be first lit by the ideologies of the island that I first came from.”
What are some projects you’re working on?
“I will be making my debut in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts (NEOMFA) Playwriting Festival featured in Sexy and the Sexless Men in Seattle premiering Feb 8 through 10 at the Liminis Theater in Tremont. Tickets are only $10 at the door. I am still performing in my debut of burlesque acting as the only male exotic dancer at Cleveland’s own Pickwick and Frolic called ‘Kimi’s Las Vegas Bachelorette Party,’ showing on select Fridays throughout the year.
Tickets range from $20 to $25 at the door depending on seating. On top of that, I am still committed to spreading the spirit of Aloha and Tahit E across Northeast Ohio and neighboring cities, states and countries with one of Cleveland’s only Polynesian dance groups, Hula Fusion. Lastly, of course, Hula Fusion and I will be performing for this amazing project ‘Until Name Becomes Prayer.’”
Why did you choose to be a part of ‘Until Name Becomes Prayer’?
“I saw the empowerment that it would give me to truly share my culture as well as revitalize the perception of Polynesian cultures that everyone here seems to commercialize and know little of. Also because it’s a great medium. I fell in love with William Nu’utupu Giles’ medium of slam poetry in effectively speaking the truth of Polynesian cultures.”
What excites you in your work?
“The noise I am able to make: The dialogue that I create with people after the show and the questions and comments that they may share with me. This gift that I have to inspire at least one person and know that I had made a difference in their life — as little or as big as that might be — gives me a fulfillment and joy to know that my work was received well with power and truth. If I am able to inspire that one person, no matter how small or big, I am confident to know that that dialogue they share with another person can and will create a wildfire of dialogues, thus creating change and power. I can see ‘Until Name Becomes Prayer’ creating this wildfire of dialogues where people can’t help but talk about their own cultural identities and of the truth as to what their purpose is in America after all and to ponder on how and why they even came here in the first place. Maybe they will even take the time aside to rediscover really who they are and find that person they have lost through the struggle of fighting for the American Dream. Maybe people will start respecting other people for not only their cultures, but also for who they have become especially in a time today. Today, we, Americans, are being told by our leaders to do otherwise and discriminate upon each other for not being a true ‘American.’ We might start to question what is an ‘American’ or rather ‘Who are we?’ or ‘Who am I?’”
What are you looking forward to?
“I am looking forward to seeing what happens during ‘Until Name Becomes Prayer,’ and after the event, and seeing where we take this. What other work can we do? Having someone like Will here, especially during a confusing time in our American history, will really spark a needed fire that we all need here in Akron and Cleveland to push us to question these questions of identity and culture in America. I am most excited for the gathering of differences in our community and the noise that will spark a hopeful change in this community and throughout.”
For info about the event, visit www.facebook.com/events/1770625059623052.