Kia orāna! My name is Melodie Turori, I was born in Aotearoa New Zealand and raised on Luiseño land in California. I’m a Māori Kūki ‘Āirani artist and educator based in San Diego and descended from the peoples of Aitutaki, Pukapuka, Sweden, and Germany
My work explores themes of identity and belonging, memory, and genealogical connections with ancestor pieces (sometimes called artifacts). I recently shared curation of the exhibit/living handbook Te ‘Iti Nei Te Marama at the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum in Long Beach, CA. I am associate faculty in the Cinema-Television-Radio department and Radio Program Coordinator at Saddleback College.
I’m also a co-learner at NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community, researching conceptions of land and indigeneity around Oceania to understand how spiritual connection to ancestral land can be renewed and cared for in diasporic Pacific Islander identities and theologies.