Torika in NZ

1 11 2009


Torika was in New Zealand briefly to participate in a workshop on militarism and the Pacific at Victoria University in Wellington where she finally got her hands on the Fiji Times publication!

Workshop dinner // Winston Halapua, Torika Bolatagici, Ema Tavola and Raijeli Nicole





BLOOD + BONE

23 10 2009

BLOOD + BONE
Ema Tavola // Solo

December 2009
The Salon, Level 1, St Kevin’s Arcade, Karangahape Road, Auckland City





Reviewed!

16 10 2009

The Fiji Times exhibition has been reviewed on Cafe Pacific HERE

Vinaka vakalevu!

An anonymous comment notes…

A modern Pacific fusion, with LGBT graphical representation, with strong influences of vagina monologues and Jackson Pollack undertones, wrapped in political satire, with a twist of impartial bias.





Fiji Times closes in Auckland City

14 10 2009

The sun has set on the FIJI TIMES exhibition… Torika Bolatagici Vetuna’s beautiful photo media work has been donated to the Tautai Trust Tsunami Relief Auction and Luisa Tora’s poster will be on it’s way shortly to its new home in Christchurch, New Zealand! Congratulations artists, vinaka vakalevu supporters, thank you so much Naomi Singer and Nicole Lim, respected colleagues. A great project… thank you all so much.

And another Fiji womens exhibition is in the pipeline…





One more day of FIJI TIMES @ The Salon

13 10 2009


The last day of the FIJI TIMES exhibition at The Salon is Wednesday 14 October. The Salon will be open from 12-6pm with artists Luisa Tora and Sangeeta Singh.





Exhibition angers reader!

13 10 2009

In response to the posting of our media release on Pacific Scoop, a New Zealand based independent news website, a reader named Jone posted this:

It would have been nice to see some photos of their works, or at least a link to the gallery. Its all very well organising an exhibition from afar as a critique against the “apparent horrors” being committed in Fiji, but the reality is that many people would agree that there has been little change to the daily lives of the people . They still live, eat and work in the same way as they did prior to the events of December 2006. People have an incredible capacity for adapting to change, and Fiji was a country in need of change. Much of the radical change which has occurred has been a result of global economics, which has pushed the price of basic essentials upwards. Debating and worrying about issues such as Democracy, Human Rights and Militarism are wonderful in the abstract, but actually mean very little to people in Fiji – I am quite sure an exhibition such as this held in Fiji would get the short-shrift it deserved from the majority of the population because it is speaking with an inauthentic voice. It is not their voice, it is the voice of ex-residents who pride themselves in running Fiji down. Far from being part of the solution, these ’so-called artists’ are the problem.

In response, curator Ema Tavola posted:

Thanks Jone for sharing your opinions. It’s a common perception that the modern arts are a frivolous waste of time, I agree in many cases. But in this case, I beg to differ.

Our website is http://FijiTimes.wordpress.com – the ‘so-called-artists’ are largely qualified, respected, academic, loyal Fiji Islanders who use their visual arts practices not to run down Fiji but to understand, question and explore their personal relationships with Fiji and our political realities, from their positions of living in diaspora.

Whilst I relocated to New Zealand to further my education and professional development (in the arts),  I’m affraid my links to Fiji are inextricable. I know the aunthenticity you speak of, that of pure-blooded, ‘loyal Fijian’ – that of my father, but clearly that is not who I am, and not who I am presuming to be! I have not been raised to think of myself as any less for being kailoma (mixed race Fijian), or for seeking personal and professional development outside of Fiji – so, the authenticity you speak of, is a framework I do not subscribe to.

I thank you for your feedback though, it is always valuable to be faced with criticism.

In response, Karlo Mila posted:

I am not necessarily against all of the change that has happened in Fiji but the tone of your arrogance astounds me. I don’t know how on earth you think you have the right to try and determine who is “authentic” and “inauthentic” but clearly these natives aren’t behaving the way you’d like them to… Your smugness about what you THINK the people of Fiji THINK is frightening and paternalistic. And if what “they” think is so banal and pro-status quo – then why is there is so much censorship trying to shut them up? Maybe you could view the art before leaping to judgement about the art and the artists and their messages. Despite your assertion that democracy and human rights mean very little to people in Fiji (another astounding assumption) – clearly, democracy, human rights and militarism meant something to these Fijians but you’ve done your best to undermine them and attack them as somehow “fake” (???) and unworthy of voice and expression about what is happening in their homeland…. As far as I’m concerned that actually makes YOU a part of the problem.

In response, artist Margaret Aull posted:

This exhibition was never intended to garuntee change for Fiji but to provide a forum for discussion and debate through Art.

Art is a universal language that expands beyond the debating chambers beyond the shores of Aotearoa and Fiji – the realities of Fiji that you speak of Jone – this is our response and Art is the viechle.

You do not have the authority to question – nor do we have to validate our heritage of our parents,grandparents to “authenticate” a voice – we are a product of Fiji.

We will continue to challange the parameters and create work that speak of our truths and our thoughts – Its called freedom of expression.

This exhibition has set a precedance and has done what it was intended to do – which was to cause a response.





In solidarity…

9 10 2009

Dear Editor

On behalf of the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement, I congratulate the artists who are part of the “Fiji Times” exhibition. As an organisation that passionately upholds and promotes the rule of law, democracy and human rights, we believe that any space where women can come together to expose and voice their outrage at the current political, social and economic problems in Fiji – should be strongly encouraged and supported.

FWRM was a supporter of last year’s “Vasu – Women of Power” exhibition in Fiji so we know that art is and can be a vehicle for social, political and economic transformation. Unfortunately we cannot be there to be part of this important exhibition. However please know that we are there in solidarity. Thank you for being our voice!  We salute your courage and passion and wish you all the success.

Best wishes,

Virisila Buadromo

Executive Director
Fiji Women’s Rights Movement

_______________

This letter appears in the exhibition catalogue for the Fiji Times exhibition alongside letters from Dr Teresia Teaiwa, Seona Smiles and Matelita Ragogo. These letters of support and endorsement mean so much to us, vinaka vakalevu.

The letters can be read online HERE.