Si'uomatautu - Where the Oceans and Lands meet
This work explores the Pacific body politics as more than human. We recognise our Moana knowledge of 'body' as water, our land, practices and people.
In examining western body politics alongside pre-colonial Pacific thoughts and concepts, I arrive at the roles of narratives, representation and clothing in the currents of Pacific reclamation discourses. Referring to the body as 'land' and its connections to our stories and place of being, the tapa is a valuable material of the Moana that carries Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa narratives and places.
Presented here are a combination of revitalised materials that were collected, bought and gifted during my practise and research of the Pacific body representations. The selection of these works speaks to our collective Moana connections and understanding of our traditional materials as living beings.
The aute branch, gifted to me by a fellow Tuākana is used to support the Tongan tapa cloth called the Ngatu - this was brought from a Tongan material store in Otāhuhu Auckland. I was advised of its distinctive material for the purpose of clothing and the performance of our Moana stories by the store's lovely owners. This tapa was then hand-painted according to my memory and the stories of the places I grew up in.
The Samoan ‘afa or fibre made out of coconut husks holds these pieces together to the wall. This ‘afa is a gift from a fellow classmate and friend when he visited Samoa last month. In conversation with these materials, there is a sound recording of the stories around place, people, narratives and land.
Drawing from the Oceanic concept of the Vā/Wa; a relational/sacred space to influence, create and most importantly, a place of Fa’ataualofa (reciprocation), this work is a visual representation of the stories around my mother’s village of Matautu Lefaga. The stories and experiences were shared within a talanoa (conversation) with my great grandmother Lemalu Fa’ataumamatemalesoatau Filiga, my grandmother Lemalu Shirley Auvele and my aunt Shirley Esera.
The stories provide insightful knowledge of Matautu Lefaga’s waters, land and history. In sharing these stories, we are reminded of the way our identities as people are informed by our connections to each other as well as our living environments.
Below are the names of Matautu Lefaga’s waters provided by my extended family in Samoa.
Vai i tai - Coastal
Aga ole Ula
Vai i uta - Inland