Meet Maryann Talia Pau.
She is Samoan. From a richly happy and proud race, as sure of herself as the tattoos fiercely displayed on her arms, and of which I was secretly envious of. I wish I belonged to such a clan.
Maryann Talia Pau is her name and her weaving has taken her across the world.
Like the wafts and weaves she creates in her beautiful breast plates, adorned by models, featured in magazines, and on runways. Her breast plates have been aquired by the National Gallery of Victoria with her own installation in the Art of the Pacific Gallery, just another thing of which I was secretly envious. I was starting to become a little jealous of this woman and her talents.
We sat under a shady tree at the glorious Woodford Folk Festival, when she began telling me her story.
My sister and I sat there and tried our hand at billum making. Like laughing, giggling clumps of women under the canopy of the tree.
Maryann’s tone darkened as she told how the violence, rape and ultimate death that Victorian woman Jill Meagher endured in 2012 after being abducted as she walked home from a Brunswick bar in the early hours of the morning.
Her community was facing a difficult time and Maryann was moved by the communities kindness and compassion, which gave her the inspiration for the One Million Stars Project, choosing the symbol of a star as it set to inspire light, hope, courage and solidarity.
Maryann invited the world to join her in weaving stars with the hope of creating an installation of one million stars by 2018.
The One Million Stars Project had exceeded one million by then. She received grants from the Commonwealth Government to spread the world for the project that her quest had given her. She has a video on her website of how to make the wondrous stars and from a trickle a whole movement stated.
It will be featured at Brisbane Town Hall for the Commonwealth Games as apart of Festival 2018, which will be on showcase from the 29th of March to the 15th of April 2018.
Co-founder of the Pacific Women’s Weaving Circle, Maryann is not the silent type, however she is a woman that is softly spoken and tears up as she told us of the stories of the people she had met.
“The one million star installation will mean different things for different people but my personal hope is that the installation allows men, women children regardless of race, gender, culture or belief feel like they are part of a community and world that cares” says Maryann.
Weaving tales as we sat under that shady tree and weaving stars that Maryann has created. I was in awe of this woman and someone that we, as women, should be proud of.