The following statement was prepared as part of the original MFA installation and thesis project in April 2005.
I offer a heartfelt thanks to my very supportive graduate committee who provided a delicate balance of guidance and freedom to explore as my heart directed. These guiding and sensitive mentors included Professor Joseph J. Kuszai, committee chair, Professor James Fagan, and Dr. William Charland all from the Department of Art & Art History, as well as Dr. Kenneth David from the Department of Anthropology. I owe a special debt of gratitude to Professor Michael Fanizza, former graphic design chair, who set me off on a mindbending journey of exploration before being called to his own.
Special thanks to the following people for their contributions and assistance in contributing to the content of this project: Marsha Schoeffler, Walt Sturghill Jr., Sarah Fulmer, and Rebecca Homer for assistance with shooting video. Also a special thanks to: Anastassia Fulmer for assisting in “stamping” the “open book”; 2001 and 2004 Fiji Study Tour participants; Litiana Waqalevu and Patrick Craddock for photographs of the May/June 2000 Fiji coup; Josefa Uluinaceva for allowing me to interview him for background information on comparative life; and the resident student artists, choreographer Alan Alo, and director Dr. Epeli Hau‘ofa of the Oceania Centre for Arts and Culture at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji; and the villagers of NaMuaMua and Raiwaqa in Fiji for welcoming our Flint students into their world. Thank you, also, to my colleagues at Mott for supporting my extra studies and growth as an artist. Any omissions in these acknowledgements are regretted for all assistance and support has been greatly appreciated.
Also a special vinaka vakalevu (Thank you!) to Walt Sturghill Jr. and James “Chad” Richardson for giving me their own special tour of Flint as they live it everyday. Thanks also to Al Sadaj for his assistance with the final installation of this project. And, of course, a very special and loving thanks to my ultimately patient, supportive and talented husband, Keith, who built the framework grid and handled everything that required powertools and hammers in order to [save his wife’s fingers and sanity and] provide a setting for all of this digital material to come together in the midst of the pressures of chaos.
Vinaka vakalevu and Lomalomas (Thank you so very much and with warm wishes and love) to all.
~ mjf, Spring 2005