Angela Tiatia explores contemporary culture through performance, video and photography, drawing out the relationships between representation, gender, neo-colonialism and the commodification of body and place. Often through the lenses of history, popular and material culture, the artist moves deftly in her compositions of still and moving image from pointed detail to satellite view addressing themes of postcolonial reclamation, women’s bodies, identity and representation.
Her works produce what the artist terms ‘very direct messaging’ about objects, movements, and other mechanisms of power, particularly with reference to perceptions and misconceptions of the Pacific. Such messaging is applicable as much to Tiatia’s own Sāmoan, New Zealand and Australian identity as to those of anyone in a betwixt state of culture, place, and heritage.
Holding On features Angela Tiatia viewed from above with an incoming tide lapping at the edges of the cement slab upon which she lies. The ravaging of South Pacific nations by the effects of climate change is a strong line of cultural indictment for the artist. Tiatia states;
Holding On is a visual and very personal response to climate change and rising water levels in the Pacific.For me there is a correlation between this image and the emotional, physical and spiritual act of the Pacificholding onto lands and culture in these very challenging times.I filmed this action every evening close to sunset 10 days in a row. It was a very physically demanding workthat involved being scraped and pushed around – as I underestimate the strength of the incoming tide.
Tiatia’s important work has been acknowledged industry wide. She has been the recipient of multiple prestigious awards, most recently including Matisse Alive Commission Art Gallery of New South Wales (2021); Ian Potter Moving Image Commission, ACMI, Melbourne, Australia (2021); Sidney Myer Creative Fellow (2019); Creative New Zealand Contemporary Pacific Artist Award (2018) and Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize (2018).
Her work is held in numerous public collections including the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa; Australian War Memorial Museum, Canberra; and the Australian Museum, Sydney. She was awarded the 2018 and has been a finalist in numerous prestigious awards, including the Edinburgh Short Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival, Archibald Prize, Sir John Sulman Prize, and the John Fries Art Award.