Curu Mai: Talanoa

with Salote Tawale and Emele Ugavule

Join Fijian artists Salote Tawale and Emele Ugavule as they discuss the impacts of environmental racism on the future of arts ecologies, and their creative expressions. This conversation provides deeper insights into the exhibition I don’t see colour, currently at PICA.

The starting point for I don’t see colour is a conversation that took place between the artist and a philosophy student at a party in the UK. Presenting painting, installation and video, “I don’t see colour” is a response to this exchange and an attempt to process the implications of this statement in the face of the unevenly felt impacts of climate change brought on by colonial and capitalist structures. The artist imagines climate change as an indiscriminate force that doesn’t see colour either.


ABOUT CURU MAI

Curu Mai is the program of events related to Salote Tawale’s exhibition at PICA, I don’t see colour. Curated by Creative Producer Emele Ugavule, Curu Mai sees digital and physical events celebrating Fijian culture and creative practices. Spanning from digital forums to community storytelling days, Curu Mai allows for deeper engagement with the themes arising from Tawale’s exhibition, whilst providing multiple access points for all ages to learn more about Fijian culture and communities. Curu Mai means Enter or Come in in the Bauan dialect of the Fijian language, and through this program, a doorway into PICA will be opened to invite the local Fijian community to celebrate their culture while experiencing the work of one of Australia’s leading Fijian-Australian artists.


ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Salote Tawale was born in Suva, Fiji Islands and grew up in the southeastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia and is currently based in Sydney, NSW. From the perspective of her translocated Indigenous Fijian and Anglo-Australian heritage, Tawale explores the identity of the individual within collective systems. Examining through self-performance, Tawale draws on personal experiences of race, class, ethnicity and gender formed by growing up in suburban Australia.

Tawale completed an undergraduate degree in Media Arts and Masters of Art at RMIT University, Melbourne and a Masters of Fine Art at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney. Tawale has exhibited nationally and internationally, most notably at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art; Spring Workshop in Hong Kong for Para Site gallery; at ICAN in Jogakata Indonesia. Tawale undertook an Indigenous Visual and Digital residency at the Banff Centre in Alberta Canada and received the Inaugural 2017 Create NSW Visual Arts Midcareer/Established Fellowship. Tawale recently undertook the Australia Council for the Arts six-month residency at Acme, London, focussing on colonial archives, Fijian objects, imagery and written records.

 

Emele Ugavule is a Tokelauan Fijian storyteller. Her research and practice area of interest is Oceanic Indigenous-led storytelling, working across live performance, film, tv & digital media as a writer, director, creative producer, performer, educator and mentor. Her work explores creative processes and outcomes grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing, and nurturing the vā where embodiment, cultural expression, digitisation and neuroscience intersect.

A graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Arts, she has worked with various artists and organisations across Australia and the Pacific including Warner Music, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Sydney Opera House, Netflix & Mad Ones Films, Playwriting Australia, Art Gallery of NSW, Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture & Pacific Studies.

She is a sessional lecturer at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Lead Editor of Talanoa and the founder and director of Studio Kiin.