Critical Stages (Jun 2021)

I Dance for the Dead. The Blue and Black in the Pacific: A Eulogy for Teresia Teaiwa

  • Ojeya Cruz Banks

Journal volume & issue
no. 23


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In the Pacific and Black/African diaspora world, we dance for the dead. For the late, legendary, Black Pacific poet-scholar Teresia Teaiwa (1968–2017), I danced a eulogy in Fiji. The performance is featured in a short film I made to honor her memory. A central focus of this article is to chronicle Teaiwa’s epic influence upon Pacific Studies and her establishment of a group of women artist-scholars of both Pacific Island and African diasporic heritage mostly based in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Teaiwa emboldened us to share family stories and to embrace our Black Pacific heritages through artistic practice and research. She honored Pacific solidarity, and diversity of knowledge, and was a fierce critic of Black racism in the region. I pay homage to her.