June 23, 2000
The Oceanside Public Library and the Oceanside Museum of art, in partnership with the Samoan Sister City Committee, announce an innovative program to celebrate and honor the art and culture of American Samoans and Samoan Americans in Oceanside. SULU O LE TAUTUA: A Tribute to American Samoan Art and Cultural Traditions will feature museum exhibitions, musical performances and educational programs from June 2000 to July 2001. Congressman Ron Packard was instrumental in securing the project funding, a grant of $189,759 from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.
These programs recognized the celebration of the centennial of American Samoa' status as a territory of the United States and acknowledge the important contribution of Samoans to the cultural and artistic life of the United States. There is an old Samoan proverb that goes "O Le Ala I Le Pule O Le Tautua." Literally it means. "The road to leadership is through service." "Sulu O Le Tautua," meaning the "Torch of Service," is a tribute to the Samoan service men and women who have served the people and government of the United States and, indeed, all Samoan people both in Oceanside and in Samoa. American Samoa is the oldest Sister City to Oceanside and the SULU O LE TAUTUA project is Oceanside's way of expressing its appreciation to all the Samoan people for all the wonderful years of enriching our city with their unconditional tautua."
The project features the following six components:
1. A commissioned fine art photographic essay by Tony Gleaton honoring the lives and cultural heritage of American Samoans in Oceanside and American Samoa. Opens July 2000 and closes September 2000.
2. A pioneering museum exhibition on the graphic and textile arts of Samoa, Worn with Pride: Celebrating the Artistic Heritage of the Samoan People, that will trace the origins of fine mats, bark cloth, and tattoo in the Pacific Islands and explore their contemporary richness. Opens July 1, 2000 and closes August 21, 2000 at the Oceanside Museum of Art.
3. The first full-color exhibition catalog ever produced on Samoan art that will accompany the exhibition Worn With Pride: Celebrating the Artistic Heritage of the Samoan People, to be available July 1, 2000.
4. A dynamic photo documentary project that will involve professional photographer Leland Foerster and Samoan youth in recording the daily life of the Samoan community in Oceanside. Opens February 2001 and closes April 2001 at the Oceanside Public Library, and will tour area schools through calendar year 2001.
5. A series of public performances by acclaimed Samoan and Pacific Island musicians and musical groups. To be presented June 2000 to June 2001 at various venues throughout Oceanside.
6. A permanent and unique cultural archive established at the Oceanside Public Library that will house all photographic, research, and educational materials produced by the project, as well as a selection of books, videos, and music on and from American Samoa.
The Oceanside Public Library has retained Natasha Bonilla Martinez, an arts administrator, curator and scholar, to serve as Project Director. Ms. Martinez will coordinate all aspects of the project and will be based at the Oceanside Museum of Art. For more information on project programs and activities please call Ms. Martinez at 760-721-2787 or Jose Aponte, Oceanside Public Library Director, at 760-435-5558.