This special project features a ngatu (painted bark cloth tapestry) created in Tonga and New Caledonia by artist and curator Ruha Fifita with help from friends and family, and a second one made collaboratively with her extended family in Vaimalo and Aotearoa New Zealand. These remarkable works represent the critical role of fibre arts in Pacific culture, ceremony and community life, as well as honouring intergenerational learning. The exhibition title ‘OFO HAKE’ evokes a sense of awaking to respond to something new – an awareness embedded in the spiritual and material process of making the ngatu – and the narrative expression, knowledge and faith gained from their grandparents 'Akesa and 'Isileli Fifita.
Lototō 2016 – a Tongan word suggesting values of humility and generosity – speaks to our relationship and interactions with the natural environment. It was made with pigments from Vava'u and Ile Ouen and is based on stories, legends and songs associated with the ancestral migration of whales. The family's collaborative work, Koe Ngoue Manongi (The Fragrant Garden) 2019, reflects on the bonds that unite extended families, as well as the way these relationships nurture levels of unity that extend amongst its members, embracing diversity and enabling individuals within.
WHEN: 17 JANUARY - 18 APRIL 2020
WHERE: UNSW GALLERIES
ADDRESS: CNR OF OXFORD ST & GREENS RD, PADDINGTON NSW 2021
HOURS: TUES TO SAT, 10AM-5PM. CLOSED PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
Image: Ruha Fifita, 'Lototō 1' 2016 (detail). Earth pigments, natural dyes and tuitui (Candlenut soot) on ngatu (barkcloth). Image courtesy: the artist. Photograph: Arnaud Elissalde