Who We Are

Bad Fiji Gyals Bio

The labour of sharing stories and cultural knowledge systems to uncover and learn about indentured labour or Girmit—the birth of our community—begins and has grown through friendship and a mutual love for our ancestors, community and Viti (Fiji). Our collective fights colonial tactics of generational silencing for many forms of resistance to exist and be embodied in our present and future. We honour the Girmit Women’s Gang and carry forward their fight to live. The Bad Fiji Gyals is dedicated to sustainable community care and intergenerational healing, especially of women, queer, trans, non-binary (NB) and gender non-confirming people (GNC) in our community.

Individual Bios

Image collage of Quishile. Mid length photo of Quishile standing and smiling towards the camera. Surrounding her image are Quishile’s textile works, vectors of machete’s, red hibiscuses and an image on the left side of her amma’s yellow tatting. There is a text in the upper left corner that reads Quishile Charan.

Quishile Charan

She/her — I am an Indo-Fijian textile maker and writer living in Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa. Craft was gifted to me through being my Aaji’s namesake and encompasses language, identity, story-telling and a place of healing. I create textiles that nurture craft as a form of generational exchange and love. Stitching and threading together memories and stories, I uphold the values of textile making and craft as a cultural knowledge system and a way to actively challenge colonial violence. I work to affirm the significance and importance of craft through the relationships with the women in my family. Another aspect of my work is the centering of Indo-Fijian women’s narratives of resistance and oral stories that are excluded historically, in the archives and in academia. By bringing craft and textile work together with my research on the silencing of Indo-Fijian women's narratives, I seek to challenge hierarchies of silencing women's labour and their histories. I am of Girmit and pākehā descent. You can view my textile making, craft and research online here.

Image collage of Esha. Full length photo of Esha standing and smiling towards the camera. Behind her image are graphics of waves, sugarcane, frangipani flowers and Suva buses. In the lower right is an image of Esha’s grandmother standing and smiling. In the lower left is an image of a bure. There is text in the upper right corner that reads Izland கூலி.

Esha Pillay

She/her — I am a writer whose stories connect with the women who came before me: my grandmothers and great-grandmothers, all the ammas. I’m Fijian-born with roots in Lautoka and Labasa and currently live in the U.S. My research focuses on intergenerational traumas among Indo-Fijian communities and the connection between the colonial violence of indentured histories that manifest in present-day traumas. The function of caste violence throughout Girmit, its impact on descendants and the lived experiences of my family is another key area of my research. Being Madraji, I also highlight the experiences of indentured labour communities who came from South India. I hold a M.A. in Migration and Diaspora Studies from SOAS, University of London and work in education and web design. You can follow my research and writing at Izland Kuli.