This week on the EWF Blog, we’re continuing our Staff Spotlight series as we meet another member of the team – our new Operations Manager Folole Tupuola!

Hello Folole! Please introduce yourself to the EWF Blog!

Talofa EWF Blog! My name is Folole or Flo for short. I am a practicing artist of Samoan heritage settled and working on Wathaurung Country. I’ve always been a curious learner and researcher, finding my passion in studying Visual Arts and working with the community that is family. My spontaneity gets the best of me and at times, coincidentally led me to pathways of self-adventures with my out of control creativity. You can say, I’m a free-spirited and unpredictable traveling nomad.

How have you been involved with EWF in the past? Do you have a favourite memory from years past?

I’ve been very fortunate to work with incredible people that make up EWF as a FOH staff member. It is a treasure to be in the same intimate space with people and absorb the stories that are shared. Being at the right place, at the right time is something that EWF staff have successfully achieved time and time again. Offering many favourite kept memories to look back on.  

What excites you about coming on board as Operations Manager?

I’m super excited to keep learning and to do so from an amazing team who I’ve watched prosper through tough circumstances e.g. COVID. I look forward to inheriting new and refreshing skills and experiences. And with the guidance of some pretty badass leaders.

What do you do outside of EWF? 

When I’m not in bed all day with a stash of chocolate watching K-pop reaction videos, I’ll be updating my K-pop playlist since ‘09’. I’ve been learning to weave and laugh with mamas from Mata’ala Pasifika. I’m proud to support community advocacy and campaign work with the Pacific Climate Warriors family. I’ve been upcycling my wardrobe and playing with Manic Panic hair dye simultaneously. I picked up a lot of new hobbies during COVID lockdown, including roller skating and learning to Ailao Afi (Fire Dance). I love to draw on practically anything and to perform Siva Samoa with loved ones. I love creating collaborative work that pushes boundaries and sometimes gets me in trouble.    

What have you been reading over the holidays? How’s your #TBR pile looking at the moment? What’s on your bookstore wishlist? 

I was in beautiful Viti (aka Fiji) over the holiday season and found myself reading Sweat and Salt Water, a collection of short essays written by the late Teresa Teaiwa, including written responses from artists across the solwara. Sharing intimate conversations with friends during chapter pit stops. My #TBR is a collection of Pacific Island children’s books that I want to read to my niece and nephew, including ocean works by Marita Davies, Cathleen Valelia Moa and Dahlia Malaeulu to name a few. Tusiata Avia’s The Savage Coloniser Book is currently on my wishlist along with The Properties of Perpetual Light by Julian Aguon. I’ve enjoyed decolonizing my shared bookshelf with the young ones, with works written in our mother tongue. 

What is something you want to learn to do / learn more about in 2022?

To continue listening. The lovely Veisinia Tonga founded Pasifika Storytellers Collective and I’m so excited to connect and learn from a village of ocean writers, artists and storytellers. I also want to keep learning my mother tongue with great care and respect. I very much look forward to seeing people in person who I haven’t hugged, cried and laughed in embrace for so long!