Samira Homerang-Saunders



Columbus, OH

When people think about the Pacific or islanders, Papua New Guinea is perhaps the last place that comes to mind, despite being the largest Pacific Island and one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world. We are relegated to anthropologists and museums for our carvings and masks. In a time when we are learning to extend solidarity across borders and cultures, I wanted to open a conversation about what we really know about indigenous Pacific Islanders, who are so often invisible in prevalent social discourse. 

The central image in this piece is from the 70s, of the first women’s choir of New Ireland, PNG. My maternal grandmother (Yaya) is the one laughing into the camera. Surrounding the border of the photo are the flowers commonly known as “forget-me-nots.” A nod to the vastness and nuance of the AAPI grouping. 

Finally, ‘Wantok’ is a word in Tok-Pisin that denotes belongingness amongst people. Literally translated, it  means ""same speak,” but we do not have to speak the same tongue to feel we belong to one another.

Photograph by Sarah Pfeifer
Photograph by Sarah Pfeifer
Photograph by Sarah Pfeifer


Orange Barrel Media

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