My sister friend Asena was so kind to invite me to participate in the KOAU program. In Tongan, the word "koau" is said in response to when your name is called. Very powerful!
STEP (Saturday Tongan Education Program) at Pomona College hosted this wonderful Pacific Islander educational program on May 7, 2017.
Unfortunately, I was not be able to attend. But they were so awesome to include my educational biography:
Ruby Fanaika Fa’agau
My calling came early in life when I was a teen. I noticed in my American social studies class that Polynesians were absent in the American narrative, and absent in politics and law. I felt an imprint in my heart to pursue a career in law. But I did not have the environment or mentors to instruct me on a direct path into law school. Nevertheless, I thank God for my Tongan mother who always saw my potential. She was my only cheerleader for a very long time.
Part of my journey has been coming to terms with the Polynesian dynamic of intuition. We have an inner knowing that has allowed us to survive tsunamis, take care of our families and village, voyage across waters, and host big celebrations wherever we go. But growing up in the diaspora, I had to reacquaint myself with this strength. It was my intuition that pulled me forward when others did not believe in me, and it has been my intuition that has guided me into law school and now through it. As I get ready to graduate, I have many cheerleaders who are excited to celebrate this next chapter with me. If they knew how far I’ve come, then they would understand why I feel blessed.
And they took time to discuss my children story, "Maka and the Impossible", with the kids. (See photo below)
I'm so grateful for these wonderful connections. I met Asena through my law school classmate and friend, Olavo. The world proved to be even smaller when Asena and I discovered we were actually related. Tokousos for life <3
To buy this kawaii style Tongan sweatshirt, designed by me, visit:
Hi Artfans, I finally created some new designs. Thought to tap into that special niche of islander culture :) Influenced by kawaii style, I drew some cutesy islander dolls.
Happy Holidays All, I posed my unique cartoon character in a holiday setting. That's right! I invented him.
The little round guy is Maka from my original children's story, "Maka and the Impossible," which is a parable of ambition. My little rock leaves his village and goes on an impossible journey. Reflecting his creator (me), he has an ISLANDER FLAVOR to his style.
To read about his adventures, please check out my book :)
#polynesianstory #polynesianchildrenstory #polynesianwriter
I grew up in San Francisco :) Surrounded by friends of multiple cultures, exotic food, and eclectic entertainment. San Francisco will also have a special place in my heart for empowering me to think openly and bravely.
In addition, I grew up knowing that my people are Polynesian because my father is Samoan and my mom is Tongan. As a result, I feel tethered to the South Pacific in a spiritual sense which means that I'm never lost because my identity works as a compass. Because I know who I am, and where I come from, I have the confidence to travel very far.
To no surprise, when I began painting - and I'm self-taught - a Polynesian flavor popped up despite my American upbringing.
For instance, in my "Water Window" painting, I tried to snapshot a village in the distance from a surfer's point of view. Check it out:
In another painting, I tackled the subject of Akaka Waterfalls which I enjoyed visiting when I lived on the Big Island. After growing up in San Francisco, I knew that I had to live in the Pacific in order to blossom. The journey was so worth it! Hawai'i challenged me in ways I didn't expect and didn't know I was capable of meeting head on. Here is the "Waterfall" painting:
Last but not least, below is my painting that marries my identity as a Polynesian and as an American. I call it, "San Francisco Jungle" because the title and subject captures my eclectic upbringing. Although it's a concrete jungle, the locals - like my family - keep the city exotic and fresh.
Welcome to my blog, Ruby's Daydreams. My name is Ruby, and I'm a Polynesian writer and artist from San Francisco.
Having been born and raised in the bay area, I am very Californian. Many of my favorite artists, writers, comedians, are American.
At the same time, my parents' pacific cultures retain a strong influence on me. My Samoan dad and my Tongan mother (who has Fijian heritage) raised me to practice pacific values for community support, family responsibilities, and church. So while I was born and raised in the American diaspora, the diaspora is Not all I know.
You can see the influence of both American and Islander cultures in my art and writing:
My first collection of paintings (windows) has a lot of water, beach, ocean, tropical flavors. Three of those paintings are based on San Francisco.
The second collection of paintings (smiles) were based on faces. Some of those faces are American celebrities.
I tend to write Parables that I repackage as children stories because I like discussing life lessons and illustrating them in simple forms.
My first original children story (Maka and the Impossible) is based on my Polynesian American experience in higher education. It's kind of American Dream meets The Alchemist. It's a parable of Ambition. The character, "Maka", traveled further than I have, but I hope to catch up with his big dreaming.
The second original children story (The Offputting Duckling) was influenced by my hometown of San Francisco. It's a parable of Nonconformity. I took the old story of The Ugly Duckling, and asked the question: What if the duckling never grew up to become beautiful? What if the ugly duckling stayed ugly? This train of thought leads to self-celebration, self-acceptance, and self-love. Some of us blossom on the outside (like the swan character in the original story of the ugly duckling), and some of us blossom on the inside (which I think is a more beautiful story to explore).
I use my writing and art to talk about experiences from a Polynesian American perspective.