Winners of the Pacific Islands Creative Competition 2022
Voices from Pacific Island Countries

Winners of the Pacific Islands Creative Competition 2022

APLN is delighted the announce the winners of the first Pacific Islands Creative Competition: Nuclear Weapons and the Climate Crisis.

The competition is part of APLN’s ongoing project “Nuclear Disarmament and the Anthropocene—Voices from Pacific Island Countries” sponsored by a generous grant from the Ploughshares Fund.

“Nuclear Disarmament and the Anthropocene” aims to elevate and empower voices from Pacific Island countries by providing a platform to draw international attention to the Anthropocene’s injustices and inequities. The project highlights the illogic and injustice of channeling resources into weapons that only exacerbate existential risks, including climate change, and builds support for nuclear disarmament by connecting with those involved in nuclear and climate policy in the most vulnerable regions.

Multiple challenges, including the war in Ukraine, new nuclear weapons proliferation risks, and the failure to achieve meaningful action on nuclear disarmament and climate change, demonstrate the necessity of bringing alternate voices and perspectives to the table. As the region most affected by nuclear weapons and climate change—dealing with the legacy of nuclear weapons testing while facing the existential threats of rising seas and more severe weather—it’s critical that Pacific Island voices be elevated in these discussions.

The first of many initiatives, the Pacific Islands Creative Competition helps raise awareness of the impact that changes in the global climate, environments, and contemporary nuclear weapons policies have had, and continue to have, on the Pacific Islands.

Awards were bestowed in the following five categories: OverallYouthMicrostateSurvivor, and Women.

The 2022 PICC winners are (with comments from judges in italics):

Overall Category: Luisa Tuilau

Luisa Tuilau is from the Fiji Islands in Oceania. Her areas of interest are in human rights, women, peace, and security. She won for her poem recitation video “I walk BRAVO”.

Each time I watch Luisa’s short video, her message about the inter-generational horror and destruction of nuclear testing hits me hard. It’s not abstract and it’s not historical: it’s real, it’s now, and there’s no end in sight.

Youth Category: Sharon Varsha Kumar

Sharon is the owner of Eagle Creations Fiji. She is currently pursuing law studies at the University of Fiji. She won for the poem recitation video “Our Pacific”.

Such a passionate recitation of a poem that is both heartbreaking and uplifting in equal measure.

Microstate Category: Bedi Racule

Bedi hails from the Marshall Islands and Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia, with links to Hawaii and Fiji. She will be graduating with her postgraduate degree in Development Studies from the University of the South Pacific, where she served as president of MISA4thePacific, a grassroots youth nuclear justice organization. She won for her poem “See you soon, lagoon”.

Nice use of perspective. A beautiful piece.

Survivor Category: Mere Tuilau

A rights activist, facilitator, and youth leader from Fiji, Mere’s advocacy in self-determination, nuclear, and ocean spaces comes from over seven years of lived experience engaging with Pacific youths and within regional civil society. Mere won for her poem “The Elephant in the Room”.

Great way to remind the world that these are real issues affecting real human beings with rights to live.

Women Category: Dorell Ben

Dorell is a Gujarati-Rotuman woman from Fiji. Her art and research focuses on the reawakening of women’s Oceanic cultural tattoo practices, the liminality of tattoo motifs that transcend time and space, and establishing the significance of Indigenous Knowledge Systems as responses to lingering colonial narratives within the contemporary. She won for her poem and art series “Blood in the Water”.

—Excellent and a creative/conceptual stand-out.

Congratulations to the winners and a huge thank you to everyone who participated! The winners will each receive a monetary prize of USD $1000 and the opportunity to present their winning entries at international forums.

Special thanks to our expert panel of judges:

  • Audrey Brown-Pereira, Poet and Executive Officer at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme. 
  • Dr. Vanessa Griffen, Associate of the Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) and founding contributor of the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific (NFIP). 
  • Kalena Kattil-deBrum, Research Scientist from the Marshall Islands and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington, Seattle. 
  • Dr. Tanya Ogilvie-White, Artist, Writer, and APLN Senior Research Adviser.