Silver Rain

Poster ©2007 Daniel Ryman, Karen Watson Gegeo

The Silver Rain project is about coming together in light, hope, and love to imagine and create family and the future in rural village settings in Solomon Islands. The project is comprised of two books and an ethnographic/art film about rural villagers on the coastal plain of West Kwara'ae district, Mala'ita island, from 1978 to the present. The three interconnected parts of the project are also separate wholes.

In Silver Rain at Dawn on Mala'ita: Our Lives Together in Kwara'ae, Solomon Islands, 1978-1989 (by Watson-Gegeo), I tell the story of my experience (autoethnography) as a woman who married into a rural Kwara'ae family, and, together with my husband David Welchman Gegeo, lived with my family in the village for extended periods from 1978-1989 (after which illness prevented me from returning).

- Selections From Faces of Silver Rain

Music for Faces of Silver Rain slideshow: Kwara'ae lullabye Ruuruu,” sung by women and men of Buma and Gwa'iliki villages, Mala'ita. © David W. Gegeo and Karen Watson-Gegeo.

In Faces of Silver Rain (by Watson-Gegeo and Daniel L. Ryman), Daniel and I present photographic portraits of villagers taken by me from 1978-1989. The photographs invite viewers to pause and really look into the faces of villagers, to see and acknowledge who they are, and to recognize their humanity. Faces of Silver Rain is a companion book to Silver Rain at Dawn on Mala'ita and to the film. Photos ©2009 Karen Watson-Gegeo.

The film Silver Rain at Dawn on Mala'ita: “Building on the Past, We Can Create the Future Together” interweaves my story with the first-person story of a village girl who grew up in the period of 1978-1998, as a means of understanding the history and development of West Kwara'ae in the context of modernization, globalization, and the ethnic conflict in the Solomons from 1998-2003. The film is co-presented by myself and Daniel L. Ryman, in collaboration with David Welchman Gegeo (Kwara'ae), Paul Roughan ('Are'Are), Margaret Kiriau Komina (Lau), Karlyn Tekulu (Western Solomons), and Benion (Benjamin) Gwaufungu (Kwara'ae).

In the film, we (together with the villagers we interview) argue that for rural development to be successful, it must be based on indigenous epistemology, that is, on villagers’ own culturally-based strategies for creating and validating knowledge.

To view the movie trailer, go to:

Solomon Islands Art

Solomon Islands Art photographs © Karen Watson-Gegeo. Music: Sulufou Islanders (of Lau lagoon, Mala'ita), from their album “Sulufou Islanders,” c. mid-1970s.