Like all museums, local or otherwise, the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum (PIEAM) has had to take up the challenge of continuing to present cultural context and beauty through artifacts and actual facts without the luxury of having an actual place to present them in person. And, like others, PIEAM has come up with a virtual solution called Pasifika Transmission, debuting Thursday, because cultural understanding is no game.
Except for Thursday. Thursday’s Transmission is all about a game, a game called “Tiningo Time: Trivia with PIEAM.” Developed and hosted by artist Roldy Aguero Ablao—the fellow in the rather stunning photo above—”Tiningo Time” invites audiences to playfully compete against each other, maybe even talk a little trash, while learning something new about the science and cultures of the ocean.
Ablao’s game is the first of what will be once-monthly programs put together by select artists. Under program director Marquita “Micki” Davis, Pasifika Transmission gives those artists a 30-minute video transmission to be used however the artist wants. Davis sees this as a way to enhance cultural competency while showcasing the “vibrant talents and histories of our local artists. As many families have shifted to distance learning, we hope the series will connect new audiences with generations of wisdom and culture from the different peoples of Oceania.”
The fact that PIEAM embraced doing all of that while having a lot of fun, tells you a lot about PIEAM.
“We’re a pretty fun crowd and people have been using games more and more lately to kind of get through things,” Davis said. “During the [trivia game] test run, Roldy kind of sprinkled in banter with images related to the questions. There was a lot of culture and, actually, a lot of science. But from the look on people’s faces, it was a lot of fun.”
Along those lines, when asked if the online content allowed for more casual engagement as opposed to the sometimes intimidating, quiet atmosphere of a museum, Davis politely demurred.
“Anyone who would think [PIEAM] is stuffy or intimidating, I don’t think they could have ever been there,” she said. “We’re pretty friendly and communicative. Islanders are all about communication. But I will agree that this is very special for us because I might argue that Pacific Islanders use social media in the best way. It’s how we all connect to each other, all over the world. This has been really eye-opening, one of those things that has come about [because of the pandemic] but now we’re kind of saying, ‘We probably should do more of these.'”
Anybody can participate in this first one, which begins at 6 p.m., but you will need to RSVP to have the Zoom link sent to you. You can RSVP here. Do it, it’ll be fun.