In 2018 the Solomon Islands, in the South Pacific, hosted the Melanesian Arts & Cultural Festival, celebrating the country’s 40th anniversary of independence. On neighboring island states, the struggle for freedom continues, as West Papua resists Indonesian occupation and the residents of New Caledonia still live under French rule. In all Melanesian countries, residents face the common challenge of climate change, as rising sea levels threaten to swallow both land and tradition. In this charged context, captivating performers are using their talents to celebrate local culture and draw international attention to their islands’ plight, with the hope of spurring international solidarity and prompting collective action against the perils of a warming world.
Iara Lee, a Brazilian of Korean descent, is an activist, filmmaker, and founder/director of the Cultures of Resistance Network, an organization that promotes global solidarity and connects and supports agitators, educators, farmers, and artists to build a more just and peaceful world through creative resistance and nonviolent action! As a filmmaker, Iara has directed/produced several full-length documentaries and dozens of short films over the past decade. Iara is a long-time supporter of Greenpeace, Doctors Without Borders, Amnesty International, and many organizations around the world through the Cultures of Resistance Network.