FOR FIJI, EVER FIJI
Featuring the work of five Fiji women artists, FOR FIJI, EVER FIJI aims to provide commentary on the social and economic landscape and politics of being Fijian and non-Fijian and living as a Fijian and kailoma (part-Fijian) in diaspora.
The exhibition has been inspired by the 2008 exhibition and public programme, VASU: Pacific Women of Power, curated by Jakki Leota-Ete, Cresentia Frances Koya, Ann Tarte and Luisa Tora. VASU was Fiji’s first all woman multi media arts platform.
FOR FIJI, EVER FIJI opens from 6-8pm, Thursday 22 January and runs until Saturday 14 February at Fresh Gallery Otara, Otara Town Centre, Manukau City, New Zealand.
About the artists…
Margaret S Aull
Margaret Aull has paternal links to Fiji. She is inspired by both her Fijian and New Zealand heritage. Margaret received her Bachelor of Media Arts from the Waikato Institute of Technology and was awarded the Waikato Museum ArtsPost Award for Outstanding Academic Record in 2006. She has exhibited extensively in New Zealand since 2005 and most recently held a solo exhibition entitled Na Kena Yali at the Chartwell Gallery, Hamilton in 2008. She is currently employed as National Arts Registrar at Te Wananga o Aotearoa in Te Awamutu. Her technique is influenced by Hiria Anderson, John Pule, Shane Cotton and James Ormsby.
This work was exhibited in VASU: Pacific Women of Power; Margaret gifted a work from her solo show Na Kena Yali to the Fiji Museum, read more here.
Torika was born to an Australian mother of Anglo-Celtic origin and an Indigenous Fijian father. Born and raised in Hobart, Tasmania, Torika moved to Melbourne, Victoria to study Media Arts at Deakin University in 1997. After completing Honours in Media Arts at Deakin University in 2000 she went on to complete a Masters of Multimedia Design at Monash University. Her photographic and video work has been exhibited locally and overseas, including New York, San Francisco and Auckland. Torika has published and presented at local and international conferences about the representation of mixed-race identity and her forthcoming chapter, ‘Daughters of the Diaspora: Migrant Women and Hip-Hop’ includes interviews with local Melbourne hip-hop performers.
Torika has had a varied career, from bass player to not-for-profit, multimedia design, and is currently a full-time university lecturer at Deakin University, Melbourne and a PhD candidate in the Centre for Contemporary Art and Politics at the College of Fine Arts (UNSW). Her current research titled, “Expendable Flesh: The Fijian Body and the Globalised Economy of War” investigates the representation of the black body in war, and focuses on Fijian security workers in Iraq.
Work from Torika’s 2007 solo exhibition, Kurunavanua at Collingwood Gallery, Melbourne. Read more about Kurunavanua on Torika’s website.
Filani Filina Macassey
Filani was born in Suva in 1964 and emmigrated to New Zealand in 1972. She grew up on a beef farm in Kaikohe, Northland. Her father, a sheep farmer from Southland had originally come to Fiji to start a new life. He was one of the founder and the director of Fiji Air in the 1960s. Her mother passed away when she was a child. Filani’s grandparents are from Solodamu, Kadavu. Aside from her first solo exhibition in 1999, Filani has curated several exhibitions and organised a number of workshops for Art Kaipara including lino prints, wood sculpture and visual arts. A graduate teacher by profession, Filani is looking towards a postgraduate diploma in Adult Learning and Teaching at Massey University.
Lesu Mai, digitally printed masi – a component of the only video installation in VASU: Pacific Women of Power.
Sangeeta started painting at a workshop conducted by New Zealand based painter, John Pule at the Oceania Centre for Arts & Culture. She is a prose and poetry writer and an amateur photographer. She has started working on a novel about two Indian women separated during Fiji’s indentured labour period. She intends to develop this novel into a feature length film. She uses her art as a vehicle to challenge social constructs, including sexuality, race and gender. Her work is inspired by women, family, history, dilemma, chaos and nature. She is also influenced by the works of Frida Kahlo, Bollywood and Hinduism.
Work in progress by Sangeeta Singh, at home in Suva, Fiji.
Activist Luisa Tora focuses her energy on gender, sexuality and Fijian history. She produced her first painting as part of a Red Wave workshop at the Oceania Centre for Arts & Culture in 1998. The self-proclaimed lazy writer leans towards performance poetry. She played the Woman in Purple in a Fiji production of the Ntozake Shange play, For Coloured Gilrs Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf. In 2006, she wrote a screenplay for and co-directed the short film, The Homecoming with her partner, Sangeeta Singh.