15 April, 2009

Solo exhibition by Hobart-born artist Torika Bolatagici

This event is not scheduled for Suva but I am posting it for a friend who stayed at our short stay rental home a few years ago.

“Kurunavanua: Fijian Bodies and the Globalised Economy of War”Red Wall Gallery, Republic Bar & Café, 299 Elizabeth Street, North Hobart.Exhibition dates: Sunday 19th April – Saturday 16th May 2009Opening: 5:30pm Sunday 19th April, by Dr. Rod Ewins“

Bolatagici’s work exposes subtleties and critically engages simultaneously with Fijian and Australian histories. This work is important for Fiji as it documents the lives and times of Fiji Islanders in the 21st century: Its creation will be recorded and referenced, its message remembered, particularly in documenting the current zeitgeist of the Australia / New Zealand Pacific diaspora.” Ema Tavola, Pacific Arts Coordinator, Manukau City Council

In Kurunavanua (the trembling of the earth) Bolatagici investigates representations of Pacific Island masculinity, Fiji and the economy of war. Her ongoing research is concerned with neo-colonial encounters between the US, Australia, Britain and Pacific Island nations. This exhibition is informed by research into the exploitation of the Pacific by comparing the participation of Fijian soldiers in the nuclear tests at Christmas Islands in the 1950s to the current recruitment of Fijians to work for Private Security Military Companies in the Middle East.

“According to many accounts Fijian security workers are paid less than their American counterparts. They are considered cheap labor – despite being highly skilled. They are they are often employed to work in extremely dangerous roles. Often to accompany VIPs. They are essentially human shields. Expendable." Torika Bolatagici

Torika was born to an Australian mother of Anglo-Celtic origin and an Indigenous Fijian father. Born and raised in Hobart, Torika moved to Melbourne, to study Media Arts at Deakin University in 1997. After graduating with First Class Honours in Media Arts at Deakin University in 2000 Torika went on to complete a Masters of Multimedia Design at Monash University. Her photographic and video work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including New York, San Francisco, Oakland and Manukau.

She has presented at conferences in New York and San Francisco and has been interviewed by Triple R, ABC Radio Australia and Channel 31.Torika is currently a photography lecturer at Deakin University, Melbourne and a doctoral candidate in the Centre for Contemporary Art and Politics at the College of Fine Arts (UNSW). This is Torika’s first solo exhibition in Tasmania.

For more information/interviews/press images, please contact Torika Bolatagici on telephone number (61) 0424 375 114 or email torika@netspace.net.au.

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