Talanoa Forum: Swimming Against the Tide

Talanoa Forum: Swimming Against the Tide

Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust

Yuki Kihara, Genesis 9:16 (After Gauguin), 2020. Hannemühle fine art paper mounted on aluminium, 73.2 x 91.5cm. Courtesy of Yuki Kihara and Milford Galleries, Aotearoa New Zealand.

September 19, 2022
Talanoa Forum: Swimming Against the Tide
Talanoa in Venice: October 11–13
Talanoa in Leiden/Amsterdam : October 15–19

Talanoa Forum: Swimming Against the Tide is an online and in person gathering organized by artist Yuki Kihara on the occasion of her exhibition Paradise Camp, curated by Natalie King at the Aotearoa New Zealand Pavilion for the 59th International Art Exhibition—the Venice Biennale. Talanoa is a pan-Pacific word that describes a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue. Using talanoa as a point of conceptual departure, artist Yuki Kihara has organized the Talanoa Forum entitled Swimming Against the Tide to extend the themes of her exhibition Paradise Camp with talanoa around small island ecologies, intersectionality, oceanhood, colonisation and collections.

Spanning across virtual and physical spaces in Venice and Leiden, Talanoa Forum is an assembly of artists, curators, scholars, activists, community leaders and policymakers into a series of critical talanoa inspired by the words of the late Māori New Zealand filmmaker Merata Mita who declared “swimming against the tide makes you stronger.” Meta explored the political tensions in Aotearoa during the 1970s and the 80s by championing issues such as Indigenous sovereignty and gender equality. Mitaʻs words orient the Talanoa Forum towards how localized strategies including art, activism and policy are being shaped to address the global concerns of our times.

The online talanoa are presented September 22 and 29, and November 10, 2022; and in-person talanoa in October 2022 presented in Venice, Italy (October 11/12/13) and Leiden/Amsterdam, the Netherlands (October 15–19). We are pleased to announce Professor Emerita Ngahuia Te Awekotuku and Professor Veronica Strang as our lead speakers for the Talanoa Forum in Venice and Leiden. Incursions, excursions, site visits and lectures form part of the in-person Talanoa Forum. Other speakers include Miriama Bono, Director, Museum of Tahiti; Alex Sua, lawyer and President of Samoa Fa’afafine Association; and author and activist Chantal Spitz.

The online talanoa has been developed in close partnership with curator Natalie King, environmental advocate Lelei Lelaulu and Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust to explore various thematic constellations that make up the “Paradise Camp universe”. These include a revealing discussion between the writers who contributed to the exhibition catalogue published by Thames and Hudson from a staunchly Pasifika perspective with poetry and personal reflections; to exploring the ethical, cultural, and legal frameworks in giving personhood status to the Pacific Ocean alongside the impact of environmental crises as lived experience; and highlighting reflections on co-existence from members from the Firsts Solidarity Network including the national pavilions of Albania, New Zealand, Singapore, Nepal, Poland and United Kingdom brought together by their participation in the 59th Venice Biennale in the context of being “first” in their respective countries.

Online Talanoa: Writers of Paradise Camp, Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Dan Taulapapa McMullin, Patrick Flores, Ioana Gordon Smith, and Yuki Kihara moderated by Natalie King.

Online Talanoa: Pacific Ocean Personhood, Dame Meg Taylor, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Michelle Bender, Katerina Teaiwa, and Joy Enomoto moderated by Lelei Lelaulu.

Online Talanoa: Firsts Solidarity Network, Artist Members of the Venice Biennale Firsts Solidarity Network.

The three-day in-person talanoa in Venice has been developed in close partnership with Francesca Tarocco, Director of THE NEW INSTITUTE Centre for Environmental Humanities (NICHE), art historian Cristina Baldacci and curator Natalie King. By engaging with the urgent themes of the Paradise Camp exhibition, the talanoa will explore the intertwinements of artistic, legal, writing and curatorial perspectives on this socially engaged and multifaceted project; to how artists, curators, and scholars unsettle the boundaries between art and ethnography by highlighting reparation and restitution practices; and a discussion around the theme of water in its multiple material, social, legal and political forms, including attributing legal personhood to water ecologies. The in-person talanoa in Venice is presented in collaboration with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and with Fondazione Querini Stampalia. 

The five-day in-person talanoa in The Netherlands has been developed in close partnership with curators Wonu Veys and Erna Lije from the National Museum of World Cultures in The Netherlands. Activities includes reviewing the Oceanic collections held in the care of Museum Volkenkunde; to a panel discussion about the Tropenmuseum’s new permanent exhibition Our Colonial Inheritance, which illustrates the enduring impact of colonisation on objects and communities.

For more information on the program and speakers in the Talanoa forum visit here.

The Talanoa Forum is presented in partnership and with the support of  the Ministry of Pacific Peoples of the Government of New Zealand, CoVA Centre of Visual Art at the University of Melbourne, THE NEW INSTITUTE Centre for Environmental Humanities (NICHE) at  Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, National Museum of World Cultures in The Netherlands and Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust.

The outcome of the Talanoa Forum will be a multi-authored publication. 

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Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust
September 19, 2022

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