“Young, Gifted & Samoan” by Dionne Fonoti

One Saturday 20 June, Dionne Fonoti’s short film, “Young, Gifted & Samoan” was shown at Fresh Gallery Otara to replace Janet Lilo’s artist talk for the exhibition, MyFace.

“Young, Gifted & Samoan” is a brief glimpse into the lives of three young men born and raised in the US and is the result of two years of collaborative fieldwork with Samoan youth from the San Francisco Bay Area. Dionne Fonoti was born in Auckland, raised in Samoa and Hawaii, and now lives in San Francisco. She earned a BA in cultural anthropology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and an MA in Visual Anthropology from San Francisco State University.

Film maker Dionne Fonoti with Henry and France, Fresh Gallery Otara

Dionne’s film had much in common with Janet Lilo’s experimental documentary produced in 2006 called, Struggle of an Emcee, named after the track by the same title by Abrio featuring Soul Chef.

In 2006, Lilo undertook a project to produce a series of music videos for local hip-hop artists Abrio, Bronze Chyld and Dr Seuss. Whilst the videos were produced on a shoestring budget, Lilo was able to translate the lyrical narratives and direction of the music and artists into beautifully crafted and sophisticated videography. Struggle of an Emcee, a documentary style enquiry produced at the same time provides context and uncovers stories and relationships the artists have with the global culture of hip-hop. This body of work was selected by curator Heather Galbraith for the prestigious biannual Telecom Prospect show at Wellington’s City Gallery.

A podcast extract of the documentary is on the Telecom Prospect website here.

More photos from MyFace at Fresh Gallery Otara