Louisa Afoa | Samoa / Aotearoa
Louisa Afoa completed her Bachelor of Visual Arts from Auckland University of Technology in 2012 and went on to earn her Honours in 2016. Louisa co-founded the now archived website #500words and is currently a co director or the artist run space RM. Through her practice she documents and responds to her everyday, creating socially conscious narratives which offer insight into marginalised communities. Recent exhibitions include I’ll see you at Orion, Corban Estate, 2017 (solo); The Cold Islanders, Waikato Museum, 2017; New Perspectives, ARTSPACE 2016; Influx, ST PAUL St Gallery, 2016.
Justyn Ah Chong |Hawaiʻi
Born and raised on the island of Oʻahu, Justyn Ah Chong, also known as Kaʻolonā, is a Native Hawaiian filmmaker seeking to tell unique and culturally rooted stories. Justyn graduated from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts in 2011 with a B.A. in Film Production and a Minor in Business. Upon graduating, he returned home to Hawaiʻi where he began working as a full-time videographer and editor at ʻŌiwiTV – Hawaiʻi’s first and only indigenous television broadcasting network. There he had the opportunity to craft his skills behind the camera and in the edit bay on numerous mini-documentary projects, news pieces, commercial work and non-profit videos. Through ʻŌiwiTV he’s been blessed to travel the world, sailing with and documenting the Hōkūleʻa’s Worldwide Voyage and has collaborated on several PBS national documentaries, including the Nā Loea series, and Lets Play Music! Slack Key with Cyril Pahinui and Friends. Most recently Justyn was the Director of Photography on the feature length documentary MELE MURALS , which continues to screen at film festivals around the world. Aside from his work at ʻŌiwiTV, Justyn co-directed his first narrative feature-length film, Wichita , with colleagues from USC, and is now available on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.
Black Birds| Australia / Caribbean
Black Birds is a Sydney based company which was founded in 2015 and is led by core members, Ayeesha Ash & Emele Ugavule. It is a response to the lack representation and misrepresentation of Women of Colour in the Australian arts. With each project, creatives are invited to collaborate on works that dissect and document the female Black and Brown diasporic experience in Australia through art and performance in a variety of mediums and spaces - both theatrical and non-theatrical. Their work has been mounted in both Sydney & Melbourne. In the last two years Black Birds have produced theatrical works in at The Joan, Community Reading Room, Festival Fatale & Bondi Feast and they’ve performed at Arts House, Sydney Fringe, Word In Hand & The Pan Afrikan Poets Cafe. They have exhibited visual art, installations & short films at Bondi Pavillion Gallery, Footscray Community Arts Centre and AMbush Gallery.
Mohini Chandra is a descendant of Indian indentured laborers in Fiji, who migrated to Australia as a small child, grew up in Brisbane then studied and worked in the UK. An artist who creates installations using photography, moving image and sound, she has an ongoing interest in the narration and expression of alternate historical experiences in the construction of contemporary cross-cultural and diaspora identity-particularly in the Pacific region.
Since completing her PhD from the Royal College of Art in London, Chandra has exhibited in venues such as the AsiaSociety and Museum in New York, the Queens Museum of Art (NY), the Courtauld Institute in London, the Neue Gesellschaft Fur Bildende Kunst (NGBK) in Berlin & Kampnagel Art Gallery in Hamburg, the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London, as well as in the Shoreditch Biennale, the First Johannesburg Biennale and the Photography Triennial – Dislocations, in Finland. She recently exhibited in the biennial Focus Festival of Photography in Mumbai, Photo Kathmandu in Nepal, The Third Oceanic Performance Biennale in Auckland and in CCP Declares: On the Social Contract at the Centre for Contemporary Photography in Melbourne.
Mohini Chandra’s current work in the Pacific is supported by the Australia Council, through an Individual Arts Projects Grant awarded in 2015, whilst she has also recently been awarded an Arts NSW funded Asialink residency in India (2016) and an Australia Council Cite Residency in Paris (2017). She has also received awards from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Autograph ABP, the Arts Council of England and the British Council. Her work is held in international collections including the Arts Council Collection UK and included in major survey publications such as Phaidon’s Art and Photography by David Campany.
Lisa Hilli | Papua New Guinea / Australia
Lisa Hilli is a contemporary artist based in Narrm (Melbourne). Born in Rabaul, Lisa is a descendent of the Tolai / Gunantuna people of Papua New Guinea. Lisa received a Masters of Fine Art by Research degree from RMIT University in 2016. Her artworks have been presented internationally and nationally around Australia. Lisa contributed to the development and presentation of a Bit Na Ta: Source of the sea, an audio-visual installation commissioned by the Queensland Art Gallery for the No 1 Neighbour: Art in Papua New Guinea 1966-2016 exhibition.
She has been an artist in residence at the Australian Tapestry Workshop 2015 and was awarded a photographic prize for the Centre for Contemporary Photography Salon exhibition 2016. Lisa has co founded culturally creative spaces such as the Pacific Women’s Weaving Circle and has co-produced and co-directed films working with Pacific youth in Melbourne and Honiara, Solomon Islands. Lisa is a member of the Pacific Advisory Group for Museums Victoria. Currently Lisa is undertaking a research project within Australian museums and public archives as a Museums Victoria 1854 Scholar.
Sarah Hudson | Aotearoa
Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tūhoe
I am a full-time visual artist and even fuller-time mum living and working in Whakatāne, Aotearoa/ New Zealand. My practice is typically lens-based; expressing performance, sculpture, and installation through still and moving imagery. Major themes in my work explore representation, indigeneity, gender and social justice. I graduated with an MFA with distinction from Massey University Wellington in 2010.
Shivanjani Lal | Fiji / Australia
Shivanjani Lal is a Pacific artist and curator, she was born in Fiji, she is culturally Indian, and she grew up in Western Sydney, Australia. Her practice seeks to question the body, gesture and home. Working with storytelling, video and installation to generate healing sites that respond towards the quiet and untold stories of “otherness”. She creates work from her position as a twice removed culturally Indian, Fijian Australian artist whose history is intrinsically linked to the indentured labour diaspora of the Pacific and Asia.
Within her artistic practice, she prioritises working with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) artists and communities as this community is her own. Outcomes of research are installations, videos and performances created to be accessible to these audiences as these are their stories. A priority is to see works inside and outside of gallery spaces; to allow for that access to occur.
The foundation of her artistic practice is framed by a thorough understanding of political systems that specifically looks at social and economic consequences of policies onto minority communities, and how the consequences of these political systems can be understood, and healed through art.
Natalia Mann | Samoa / Australia
Natalia Mann is a resonance artist. She uses film and visual art as an extension of her musical practice, exploring relationships between sound and light, observing and sharing the musician’s mind through film. She has Samoan/European heritage and has lived in Australia, New Zealand and Turkey.
Craig Santos Perez | Guam
Craig Santos Perez is a native Chamorro from the Pacific Island of Guam. He is the author of four books of poetry and two spoken word albums. He is an Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa, where he teaches Pacific literature, environmental poetry, creative writing.
Talia Smith | Aotearoa
Talia Smith is an artist and curator of Samoan, Cook Island and New Zealand European descent. Originally from New Zealand she is now based in Sydney, Australia. Her visual arts and curatorial practice utilises the mediums of photography and video to examine the emotional and physical traces we leave behind on the landscape, the histories we build and the ruins we leave. She has exhibited and curated shows at artist run spaces in Australia, New Zealand, Germany and New York with solo shows in both Australia and New Zealand. Smith is the founder and Co-Director of new artist run initiative Cold Cuts, is 2017’s emerging curator at Firstdraft and 2017 Critical Animals curator and will be completing a residency with Bundanon Trust in August, 2017. In 2018 she will undertake her MFA at UNSW.
Lisa Taouma is a TV producer from Aotearoa who is passionate about making works that reflect the Pacific region and the wonderful people that live there. She, along with a talented crew of young Pacificans, make the cult hit show ‘Fresh’ and the popular online channel thecoconet.tv brining Island love life and laughter to the world. The documentary ‘Adorn’ celebrates Island women and the history, rituals and styles of their hair.
Luisa Tora | Fiji
Fiji native, Luisa Tora is an multidisciplinary artist, an activist, and a writer. Her practice is concerned with the queer discourse, indigenous Pacific culture and history, and the possibilities of alternative narratives. She worked in human rights in Fiji and the Pacific before moving to Aotearoa in 2009. Her work can be found in private collections in Aotearoa New Zealand and in the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. She is part of The Veiqia Project, the creative research project inspired by veiqia, indigenous Fijian female tattoo.
Tai Waru |Aotearoa
Tai Waru was born and raised in South Auckland and spent several years living in Australia. Tai is of NZ Maori decent with tribal affiliations to Taranaki, Ngati Kuri and Nga Puhi in the North Island of New Zealand. From an early age Tai learned to express her ancestor’s stories through song and dance performing on national and international stages and choreographing pieces for performing arts groups based in Australia. Tai developed an interest in film and TV and was selected to collaborate and work on a community TV project for Channel 31 developing a story about multiculturalism in Australia. Tai later went on to work as the Creative Fashion Coordinator in the family business and Australian company ‘Global Indigenous Management’ helping produce their fashion events, training Aboriginal, Maori, First Nations and Native American models and providing the creative direction for their promotional short films. Tai’s passion grew wanting to explore ways of sharing her ancestor’s stories through film and in 2015 Tai graduated at the South Seas TV & Film School in Documentary Directing. This is her first film produced with the help of South Seas Film & Television School.