My theatre exists in the fringes
Floating between worlds
Of stolen nations, stolen people, and native truths
My theatre is personal
Causing me to
Squirm uncomfortably in my seat
Laugh at my pain
Unlike our current affairs
My theatre is contained
And leaks out of Western boxes
Of structure and form
Because my theatre is created
By ocean and sand
Erosion of islands and island bodies
Forgotten in continental discourse
Affected by continental actions
My theatre is not American
It is a canoe
Navigating rough seas
Searching for unknown lands
My theatre is dancing toward the past
Standing in the present
Shifting toward an inclusive future
Where my canoe can meet
Diverse uncertain shores
Only to recede back
To a greater moana.
-by kiki rivera
I am an artist committed to giving queer Pacific people of color a voice in theatre as well as creating opportunities that highlight and uplift Pacific Islanders in the arts. As more work of/for Pacific peoples develop, there is growing need to develop indigenous identifying directors and ensemble makers in our practice. For indigenous theatre artists our practice is less about entertainment and more about reflecting and uplifting the voices of our communities through storytelling.
Art is medicine and the artist is healer has been my intention and approach as an artist. Since moving to California from Hawaii, my practice has extended from Hawaiian kapa making, collage, poetry and playwriting. I am one of 9 Pasifika Transmissions artists commissioned by the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum (PIEAM) and have guest curated two exhibits that address community care and grief as a response to COVID-19.
As a storyteller for Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC), Kiki Rivera helps fulfill EPIC’s mission to advance social justice by developing and implementing narrative change strategies. They use creative skills to build political will for the organization’s advocacy agenda and expand its reach in the Pacific Islander community.
As an award-winning theatre artist, educator, and arts activist; Rivera is among a group of grassroots leaders that mobilize resources to empower Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Through their creative talent, Rivera amplifies the collective voice and strengthens the advocacy work of the community organizers.
Kiki’s original plays include Faʻalavelave: The Interruption. Published plays include “Puzzy” (featuring award-winning New Zealand Playwright Victor Rodger) found in the anthology Samoan Queer Lives, To “Our Black and Brown Babies of Ocean and Islands” in the anthology We’re Not Neutral, and “Kumu Kukui” in Lighting the Way: An Anthology of Short Plays About The Climate Crises.