The first thing that caught my eye about lady Iaga was her profile photo. At first glance it looks like a simple black & white image of a girl at her laptop, right. Nothing spectacular… but then I noticed the composition of this image – the perfect placement of foreground elements against a muted background of blurred grey, the fascinating character of its subject – that face, that hair! – and I knew.. this wasn’t the work of no everyday, cellphone snapping, picture-taker. Indeed, it didn’t take much
faikakala investigating on my part to confirm my suspicions… One Samoana had just been discovered by a genuine artiste. I couldn’t wait to meet her!
Name / Location
My government name is Mariana. I’ve never liked it much because it gave people more reason to assume I was of Spanish descent. Fortunately, my family and the other Samoans in my life call me iaga, the abbreviation for Maliaga. (I cannot tell you how many times I’ve wished that one day, I’d awake with a different name, a long Samoan name that all the non-Samoans could not pronounce.) I was born and still reside in San Jose, California… or as the hipsters call it, the Shark Tank. Lame? Perhaps. It’s safe to say that it’s a good thing I didn’t make that up.
How did you find One Samoana?
I might have been yahooing myself. (That’s right, I still prefer yahoo over google.) I tend to do that a lot when I’m bored. Actually, I was doing research on the Mau Movement. One Samoana surfaced as a link, so I clicked on it. The internet was running slow that day. I remember hoping to goodness that I did not just click on a virus.
What’s the funniest/craziest thing you ever witnessed/did in the village?
Good looking on the parentheses because I was starting to wonder what village you were speaking of. I haven’t been on for a long time but I will recall an occurrence I found funny. It happened recently. I joined a good ol’ round of Word Association; it went from “buff” to “steroids” to “taro.” That was enough to make me laugh out loud for approximately two minutes.
What’s an experience you had that made you SO proud to be Samoan?
There are times when people pull me aside and express the appreciation they feel for the way I behave. Often times, I’m just keeping to heart all that my parents have installed in me. It’s become second nature. I always say “excuse me” when passing in front of people. I never eat while standing. I always take a seat when I’m speaking to someone who is sitting down. I serve elders before I serve anyone else. Being a first-generation American, I’m rusty when it comes to the traditional customs and my Samoan linguistics is limited. But even with just the basic concepts I know, I understand that the core of Fa’asamoa is respect and when I practice Fa’asamoa, I essentially am practicing respect. I’m proud that people feel respected by me. And though respect seems as it should be a universal humane ideology, my Samoan heritage seems to emphasize and even embody it. I’m proud that my heritage stresses the importance of respect. Oi, not sure if any of that made sense to you.
Tell us about your passion/hobby/work
I love art. It’s the only thing I’m relatively good at. I find creative writing fun. I doodle with pastel charcoal sticks and sing catchy pointless phrases while I strum my soprano ukulele. I’m a full time student at the Art Institute and am focusing on filmmaking. There are no mentions of Oscars or Grammys in my dreams and aspirations. I don’t care for the spotlight. I’d much rather build a great catalogue of work I can leave behind. I’d even like to connect with others who have the same appreciation for creation. I’m passionate about people and different ways of thinking and being.
Whats a project you’re working on that you want everybody to know about?
Actually, it’s still in its incubator but I’m visualizing an informational documentary centered around first-generation Americans of Samoan descent that explores their issues with identity and the effects that assimilation has on the constructs of the preservation of the Samoan culture. I’m interested in what others have to say about this broad subject.
Your final thoughts and shout outs:
Please don’t judge me only from what you read on here. Thoughts just make their way out of me, often times without edits. I really am a nice person. I love conversing with others and am open to any topic. I am not ashamed of my values and my beliefs and not easily pressured or bullied out of what I hold high. Shout out to Hamo Geek Girl for thinking of me. You’re awesome. Oh yeah, and if anyone is looking for a backup singer… I’m down. =]
HGG Notes about Iaga:
* Don’t let her sparsely decorated faleo’o fool you. Dig a little through her playlist (that’s where you’ll find me these days), her choice of video clips and the profundity in her one blog post (so far) and you’ll discover an ecclectic treasure-trove of ‘ooh’ moments. Love it!
* For more obvious evidence of her creativity, visit Iaga’s online gallery. My absolute favorites (so far) are her charcoal & pastels. Suga, when I start buying my art collection, lets talk about the price for your ‘gRunge’ piece, ua e iloa?
* She’s got a blog over at blogspot. Its title alone is incredibly promising! lol
* Although she’s still brand new to One Samoana, she seems to have pitched a tent for herself in the forums, particularly here, here and here.
* Her very presence in the ville has upped our trendy factor by a huge percentage. It’s also got me inspired to try and remember where it was I put my sketch pad and pencils all those months ago.. hmmmm….