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"Without bold action against inequalities, the world risks missing the targets to end AIDS by 2030, as well as prolonged COVID-19 pandemic and a spiralling social and economic crisis" (UN AIDS, World AIDS Day 2021).
Important. Tragic. Provoking
Describing the main character in these three words, Papua New Guinean Playwright, Andrew Kuliniasi, conveys his vision to contribute to encouraging open and respectful public conversation about HIV and AIDS through his newly published stage play, He Is Victor.
Image: He is Victor by Andrew Kuliniasi. Hibiscus Three (2021)
Having reached out to Hibiscus Three earlier this year, Kuliniasi has worked closely alongside our Founder, Rashmii Bell, to publish his creative performance piece. "I've been following Andrew's work for some time, mostly through news clippings and social media, and I actually read abut He is Victor being performed at Moresby Arts Theatre.
Image: Papua New Guinean Author and Playwright, Andrew Kuliniasi
And so, when Andrew reached out to enquire about accessing Hibiscus Three as a publishing avenue, I was really thrilled. Firstly, because it was my first conversation with a Papua New Guinean Playwright, and that I was able to read the stage play in full then ultimately, include He is Victor under the social impact (in PNG) focus of Hibiscus Three."
(L-R) Allan Jonathan as Arthur, Grace Papiali as Tolilaga and Nelson Kokoa as Pastor Elijah. Moresby Arts Theatre, 2021. Image belongs to Andrew Kuliniasi.
The decision for the publication to be released on World AIDS Day 2021, was led by Kuliniasi and wholly supported by Hibiscus Three.
When asked about the social impact he has observed from the May 2021 performance of He is Victor, at Moresby Arts Threatre (Port Moresby , PNG), Kuliniasi describes ;
"I think people have been really impacted. Because He is Victor deals with things people don't talk about, it's nice to see (even in my own home) conversations about sexuality and illness such as HIV that were previously taboo, now being spoken about. The amount of audience members that have told me that they walked away challenged to be better, that's something I'll hold and cherish."
Ms Bell's intention for establishing Hibiscus Three in 2020, was driven by the limited presence of Papua New Guinean voices in published books, and specifically, Papua New Guinean-led contribution to social impact in PNG through creative writing and publishing.
"For me, I identified with the characters of Ronald and Nagi as being the potential of what we as, individuals, as Papua New Guineans, can strive to be in our attitudes and daily behaviour to ending inequalities, including that experienced by persons living with and managing treatment of HIV and AIDS. Both in PNG and globally. Andrew has contributed to encouraging this process by his meaningful and special work."
When asked about the characters he developed and was drawn to, Kuliniasi commented.
"my favourite character is Nagi. One, because I got to play her onstage, and also becasue Nagi is a combination of both my grandmothers; my Bubu Nana, and my Bubu Baba. All my grandparents are so special to me, and Nagi is the embodiment of two kickass, witty, loveable and strong old who are among the best role models in my life. "
(L-R) Andrew Kuliniasi as Nagi sitting in armchair, next to Henry and Tessa. All are gathered in the living room watching TV. (Performance at Moresby Arts Theatre, 2021). Image belongs to Andrew Kuliniasi.
Upon release, and as with all Hibiscus Three Authors, Kuliniasi has received two copies of his published book.
In addition, Hibiscus Three was pleased to collaborate with Papua New Guinean-led small business ,Custom Portage, whom generously donated packing and delivery services of 10 copies of He is Victor for Kuliniasi in PNG.
Hibiscus Three expresses its utmost appreciation for Custom Portage's support, in ensuring Papua New Guinean authors published by Hibiscus Three, have access to their publication.
Follow Andrew Kuliniasi on Instagram: @knacktsproduction
Follow Custom Portage on Instagram: @customportage