On Friday the 13th of May, FAFSWAG Arts Collective was invited to OLGA – an artist studio space belonging to Pacific curator Leafa Wilson (writer, artist, activist and Pacific curator at Hamilton Museum).
As a collective we haven’t really considered what the ‘movement’ looks like outside of Auckland and so the opportunity to transplant some of our kaupapa, discourses and swag to another region of New Zealand is something that really excited the team. We’re always reflecting on cultural transmission through our various practices and to relocate our practices and narratives from south Auckland to engage with new communities was really interesting. We found ourselves asking each other who is gonna turn out to see this? So of course it was a huge surprise to see a full house.
FAFSWAG’s resident Photographer and performance artist Pati Solomona Tyrell is originally from the Waikato and grew up in Hamilton. Activating the space had a significant importance and meaning for him. For starters at least 90% of his immediate family still reside there and a vast majority of his friends still work and study in the region. It was especially meaningful to be able to bring his family and friends into the activation entitled ‘Aitu’ and ‘Fa’aafa’ (along with Tongan artist Sione Monu and Manu Vaea) and to reflect the depth of his practice by presenting a glimpse of what he’s been up to in his absence and during the subsequent time he’s spent living in Auckland and studying at The Faculty of Creative Arts M.I.T
Pati also presented as part of the showcase a series of new works entitled ‘Aitu 2016 portrait series’ which can be viewed in their full glory below. The Images were created over a weekend of collective FAFSWAG art making. Something we do regularly this time after Easter weekend. The Promo image of the collective was taken only minutes before hand by myself and features the people we collaborate with and have consistently worked with over the past 4 years. Not really a squad but an actual creative family of Poly Rainbow identities and supporters.
Also in the house were some locals that include Waikato Queer Youth (WaQuY), Te Wananga O Aotearoa, Hamilton PRIDE committee and The Savage Club. We’re extremely grateful for all the love and support and thankful to everyone that showed up to be part of the evening. We hope that everyone was able to engage with the art and connect with the various artist from the collective.
Shout out to the Hamilton artist we shared space with in the show. Thank you to WITCH BITCH, Nahora Ioane and Moe Laga for your confronting and brave performances / activation’s. I know the performances elevated the night and left people with a great reflection of ways to express yourself on your own terms. To all the local artist we had the chance to meet, break bread and spend time with, thank you for your involvement and thank you for your talent. Thank you to Amelia Takataka for the extra studio space and Aotea Tyrell for your awesome pot of chopsuey!!!! it was the bomb!!!
Last but not least THANK YOU AUNTY OLGA for hosting the FAFSWAG arts collective. This was a great opportunity and one that afforded people the chance to build relationships, showcase diversity and connect over art and poly style creativity. We hope to be able to do some more creative swapping in the future. Thank you for your hospitality and thank you HAMILTON for the fun filled weekend.
To any of our followers based in the region please be sure to check out the work in the space. FA’AFETAI xx FAFSWAG!!!