Maryann Talia Pau, a mother, a weaver and a Samoan based in Brisbane has utilised her passion for weaving to combat issues of violence with her work ‘One Million Stars to End Violence’ arts installation, destined for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and which recently wowed the audience attending the Pasifika Medical Association conference.
In her presentation at the conference, the Samoan Australian weaving artist spoke about her international community arts project, and a vision she has to establish a Star Weave Community – a community of star weavers pledging to weave and collect 10,000 stars.
The Star Weave Community idea has earned her a place for a public display of her work at the Commonwealth Games in 2018.
“Stars are symbolic of my homeland of Samoa,” says Maryann.
“I’m using the stars as symbols to end all forms of violence and create a new trend in the arts as a powerful platform to discuss critical issues like violence against women and children.”
She spoke about her campaign following an incident in 2012, where a young girl was brutally raped and murdered around the corner from her local church.
The incident sparked social movement.
Maryann was moved by the incident and created a vigil for the woman who was murdered that day.
“I have no connection to the victim but there’s this feeling in me that I need to do something to honour her memory.”
Although the victim was a stranger to Maryann, what happened to her sparked the artist’s imagination to see one million stars in a stellar installation.
Her work speaks about escalating racial, domestic and family violence, and also bullying.
“One Million represents how huge this project is, and that I cannot do it alone. It involves a lot of collaboration and courage to ensure its success.”
The Queensland government has officially launched her project as the first cultural and community collaboration for the GC2018 arts and cultural program.
“Everyone in the world is welcome to learn how to weave.”
“I’m thrilled to be invited to the PMA Conference to share the power of community engagement through art and the symbolism of my work to health and wellbeing leading up to the Commonwealth Games.”
“My goal is to invite as many people as possible to weave stars, to connect with our community and to build peace, love and care.”
“Passion is my song line, and what drives me. If it wasn’t for passion, I wouldn’t have started the One Million Stars project. However I can’t achieve with passion alone; I need skills. And with passion comes a high cost.”
Despite the challenges, Maryann continues to weave and she has a wider reach and strong belief of more trusting opportunity to come.
Maryann encouraged many to get involved, whether they weave individually or as a member of the Star Weave Community.
Maryann Talia Pau was born in Apia and is a Melbourne-based artist. Her mother is from the village of Fagaloa and father from Lufilufi. She grew up in New Zealand and Australia, and is married with three children.