AITU VOGUE BALL

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One of our favourite categories in previous FAFSWAG Vogue Balls has been POLY TYPICAL. It’s a category we designed to bring out the indigenous context that underpins our New Zealand Vogue scene. Our Vogue scene is extremely young and sits in a precarious space that is still coming of age. The Vogue scene in Auckland is predominantly made up of Maori and Pacific people under the age of 30. This fact is so evident in the brown presence and visibility at the recent Vogue balls in Auckland. This is important to understand when thinking of the identity of our small scene and how it occupies cultural space as an event.

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The B O D Y Vogue Ball was about celebrating these brown bodies and creating a self determined space for free expression and unwrapping the social expectations placed on queer indigenous people in this country. Since transitioning into our new home on K-Road at Auckland’s most prolific gay bar – Family Bar, we’ve attempted to maintain this Pro Pacific, pro Polynesian and pro indigenous context to frame the Ball and ultimately the framing of the active vogue scene.

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AITU Vogue ball sought to continue this contextual framing by designing and delivering an event that spoke to our unique cultural expressions and aesthetics of our core Maori / Pacific / Indigenous  audience. In polynesian languages the word AITU refers to ghost or spirit, while Pulotu refers to the underworld. This Vogue Ball asked the community to embody their cultural connections to Pulotu and the world of AITU. The results saw the cultural activation of Family Bar through projections of authenticity and realness.

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Our resident FAFSWAG photography artist Jermaine Dean has been building an important portfolio of work that documents the scene and the cultural movement in real time. These images show the complex relationships social and cultural, spacial and emotional and at the same time reflect the unraveling of rigid gender and sexuality norms.

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While the images don’t capture in an obvious way the complex relationship of DJ to MC, MC to performer, performer to audience, the resulting energy of that relationship electrifies these images and reveals truth in our scenes performers that is beautifully empowered through their cultural context.

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The Ball scene is young, and as custodians of this space we’re working to grow in ways that are natural, authentic and that come from the space. We’re really keen to get input from those of you that grace our floors with your rich cultural context and powerful body ownership. We look forward to rolling out some ideas on how to have these conversations within our community. So be sure to stay subscribed to our facebook page for updates.

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To the team that continue to support this movement and culture, we want to thank you for the life you give and energy you bring to our scene. THANK YOU TO OUR JUDGES Rosanna Raymond, Jahra Rager, Alyssa, Sam Samau and Pati Solomona Tyrell. Thank you our chanting queen – Akashi. Thank you DJ Reina Sutton. Thank you to our sponsors Paper Bag Princess. Thank you to FAMILY BAR for opening up these mainstream space for us to occupy. Thank you to our team – you know who you are and lastly thank you to our community of voguers and walkers. This event wouldn’t be possible without you. 

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