Celebrating the launch of FAFSWAGVOGUE.COM The Interactive Documentary 2018

FAFSWAG | Activate Auckland | Auckland Art Gallery |Auckland PRIDE Festival 2018 | PIKI Films | RESN | NZonAIR


FAFSWAG Arts Collective would like to take this opportunity to convey our gratitude for all the support offered to our artist throughout the 2018 Auckland Pride Festival. There were so many highlights for us it’s hard to pinpoint them all. But after some much appreciated down time we’re able to reflect on a few key moments that were really incredible for us and deserve a special mention. Thank you to everyone that contributed to our events and various projects. Your investment has enabled our communities to have a greater access to the festival, to our artist and to their various creative endeavours.
fafswagvogue.com | The Interactive Documentary
Thanks to the amazing work of PIKI films, RESN and New Zealand on AIR, FAFSWAG launched our official interactive documentary on February the 2nd, going live on the opening eve of the PRIDE Festival. The site has since won a number of awards for it’s innovation and seen a high volume of traffic over the space of the festival. We’re really proud of this work and thankful to all who worked on the project. Special thanks to our producers Carthew Neal and Morgan Waru as well as the talented team at RESN, Gregoire Cortesi, Wade Cowin, James Moir, The production team Darryl Ward, Colleen Brennan, Jasper Powell, Tim Checkly, Dan Kircher, and our amazing cast Darren Taniue, Jaycee Tanuvasa, Akashi Fisi’inaua, Cypris Afakasi, Jermaine Dean, and Pati Solomona Tyrell. A full list of contributors can be viewed here. https://fafswagvogue.com/credits.html
Auckland Art Gallery | FAFSWAG Vogue Ball 
It was an honour for the collective to activate the spaces of the Auckland Art Gallery on the 7th of February with the official launch for our interactive documentary and FAFSWAG Vogue Ball. In 2016 we managed to host various Vogue Balls throughout the city but housing one within a civic institution like Auckland Art Gallery is most definitely a career milestone. There were over 350 people in attendance and the venue was at capacity within 10 minutes of opening the doors. This event was a huge success for us. Thank you to all the amazing people that helped to make it all possible.
Thank you to Barbara Holloway and Rose Jackson at Activate Auckland for all your coordination and logistic support. Thank you to the team at Auckland Art Gallery for hosting us, Ron Brownson, Neal Stimler, Johnny Hui, Emily Mafile’o, Iokapeta Magele-Suamasi, and Nigel Borrell. Thank you also to 818 for managing the marketing and promotion of this event.
FAFSWAG AAG 2018-335
To artist Sione Monu, thank you for your amazing adornments. Selecta Rei you kow exactly how to sonically hold these spaces and we love working with you. MC Queen Kapussi / Akashi thank you for your skilful shepherding of audiences and hosting our guest for the evening, you are fire on the mic and a Goddess in 6 inch heels!!
Thank you especially to our community of Voguers and walkers who turned out to activate this space with your stories and your talents you are all fabulous and brave and as fangirls we adore what you bring to the floor.
Lastly: Thanks Kate Micaela for these beautiful pictures.

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Presents by FAFSWAG Arts Collective this free event was produced in partnership with Art Space for White Night as part of the Auckland Arts Festival. Thank you to Art Space Director Adnan Yildiz and the team for hosting us. Here are some pictures from the night. Shout out to our Judges Daren Milan, khaos, Manu, Tama Toa and Jaydess Nand – MC Boy in a dress and DJ Nikolai for holding it down. – Thank you to all our Voguers that came out and put it on the floor. Congrats to all those that took home grand prize. Thanks Leah for the pics x Disclaimer – Holla if you want any pics taken down – we’re Kool like that. 🙂


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On Christmas eve 2017 FAFSWAG was invited to collaborate with Iconic New Zealand musicians Neil and Liam Finn on the visuals and movement for their upcoming feature length documentary as well as a music video component that featured new music written and performed by the father and son duo. Featuring the whole Finn fanau and the whole FAFSWAG aiga. These shots are from the set of that project, captured by Pati Solomona Tyrell and Jermaine Dean.






RFL is entering into a new agreement to provide support FAFSWAG Arts Collective for their project Fa’aafa. FAFSWAG Arts Collective is an LGBTQI+ Pasifika Arts Collective based in Auckland. Their purposes include privileging indigenous cultural practice through the arts and creative industries, advocating for visibility within Pacific communities as well as institutional spaces, decolonising art practice and creating safe spaces for LGBTQI+ people of colour.


In March 2018, they will be travelling their project Fa’aafa to the Wellington Fringe Festival for four performances at Bats Theatre. Fa’aafa combines Samoan oral traditions, adornment, movement and sound. Juxtaposed against modern digital projection, Fa’aafa creates a Samoan fagogo (fable) for young urban Polynesians. It examines the spiritual realm of Samoan culture with its emphasis on the relationship between people and spaces and relationships known as Fa’aafa (Samoan concept of ‘half’).




Photography by Ralph Brown

“Neon” noun- Fluorescent lighting or signs using neon or another gas. The neon chapel where sins are purged. “Bootleg” adjective – A recording made, distributed, or sold illegally.

Neon Bootleg is a ceremonial water-cleansing that revisits a period of 90’s nostalgia usually off limits to my untrustworthy memories and wild imagination. Or so I thought… The truth lives somewhere between the jagged edges and neon lights, the bedsheets and the holy water. This is the unauthorised autobiography of Mistress Moe Laga, Taleni Mapu, Mother COVEN.

Check out creator Moe Laga’s interview with Sarah Murphy from Express Magazine and Basement Theatre’s Programme Director Gabrielle Vincent and FAFSWAG Co-founder Tanu Gago.

“I feel like the show is a personal journey and I get to know myself more as an artist and shut the door on things that are holding me back from becoming the best artist that I could be.”





On the occasion of ‘The Body Laid Bare: Masterpieces from Tate’, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and British Council invited New Zealand artists of Pacific heritage to offer a counter-narrative to the themes of the exhibition.

Episodefive: Tanu Gago






It’s been six months since FAFSWAG delivered the work of emerging Pacific artist Akashi Fisiinaua for the stage. Entitled FEMSLICK this work played a significant roll in transforming the creative spaces FAFSWAG Arts Collective have been able to occupy. Typical impression for Pacific performing artist is that formal institutional spaces and commercial spaces are the same thing. While Basement Theatre operates as a public trust and trades under a commercial business model, the theatre actually allows for a lot of creative freedom for new and emerging artist to experiment and find their voices. This freedom is reflected in the way FEMSLICK was able to find a new audience but also establish for the artist involved a new practice for unconventional story telling and something akin to the authenticity of the streets where the culture and the world of FEMSLICK is cultivated.


For a first attempt at trying to imbue Auckland’s underground Vogue culture with a theatrical premise and stage identity, FEMSLICK was definitely an ambitious project for first time director Akashi Fisiinaua and of course for FASWAG – a collective know more inextricably for it’s visual arts output than it’s theatre production. We had only recently, within the last 6 months prior to the production, established a series of very key game changes for the wider Vogue community in Auckland. 1) We transitioned the Ballroom scene from it’s suburban origins to it’s new home in Auckland’s CBD. 2) Akashi had stepped up from relative obscurity to play a pivotal role as the first ‘REAL’ chanter for our little but hugely disruptive scene. An ingredient that has been missing from the equation for a long time. 3) The visibility of the community went from zero a hundred in the space of a hot minute, thanks to internet and the prolific documentation of photographer and digital artist Jermaine Dean. 4) FAFSWAG established this weird social media exchange of Vogue Ball Promo Video’s and elevated the artistry of how you package particular club nights for this generation of Pacific Vogue Ball club kids. Every step in the process created fertile conditions for FEMSLICK to roll out into unknown territory and fuck it all up for good!!. And to be completely honest – that’s exactly what happened.


Documenting our moves as artist is a staple of how FAFSWAG operates. We hooked up with VICE Australia to create a doco about FEMSLICK that ultimately went on to become a doco about the underground Vogue Community in Auckland. Something we are extremely proud of consider this movement failed to interest our own local media landscape in the five years we’ve been doing this shit. With the exception of the occasional fluff piece about Pacific religious rejection of gays or dancing fafa’s from the south-side. The acknowledgement of our community as a significant culture paradigm is something that for years continued to go over the top of peoples heads. Ironically the international attention of our small scene is was what shifted the local media landscape when it took outsiders supporting local diverse communities to tell their stories and on their own terms. FEMSLICK being the catalyst for all of it.

FAFSWAG is always the risky bet. The artist have blatant disregard for genre and they’re not interested in power sharing unless it’s with the underclasses. If you’re looking for a cute lil family friendly number then depending on the equity of the potential outcome to be mutually beneficially then you’re more likely to get the more than what you asked for. Its a simple philosophy but the artist in this collective are more interested in self determination than trying to fit the mold. Something that makes perfect sense when we consider how unknowingly FEMSLICK broke new ground for a production that was only really seeking to tell an authentic story.


So what changed as a result of this show? Well…. FAFSWAG are now the theatre company in residence at Basement Theatre. With the first production in the series of seasonal shows being the debut production of FA’AAFA created by Pati Solomona Tyrell for the winter season. FEMSLICK creator the Banji C*nt herself – Akashi Fisiinaua has been offered some great emerging artist development opps and FAFSWAG has handed the Vogue Ball hosting reigns to the newly formed “Auckland Vogue Community” who are a community lead initiative of Voguers from all regions of Auckland. They hosted the Ratchet Ball at Family bar in May and are looking at holding down the scene with regular Vogue Jams, workshops, Vogue Knights and the occasional Vogue Ball. It’s open to all that are keen to play a leading roll in keeping the space warm and open for Niu blood. We’ve seen the community expand and become more inclusive and it’s pretty dope to see the other squads like the Bloodbath gurls come through. Something we’re really excited to see happen in the space. Now people can stop asking FAFSWAG artist if all they do is Vogue and the wider Vogue community can make a distinction that FAFSWAG is not the identity of the community.


Of all the great spin off’s from this project the greatest has been figuring out what value looks like for not theatre practitioners operating within theatre. Especially when that value becomes something communities are able to leverage for themselves for their own desired outcomes. It seems pretty mini in the scheme of things but actually pretty radical considering how little leverage has been afforded to those same creatives before any of this.


Clearly we weren’t the only people that had opinions about things. But if your looking for a balanced perspective on things you probably need to look somewhere else. Because these outside perspectives seem all to happy to agree with us lol. Shoutout to the artist and writers that bothered to publish their thoughts on the situation. Thank you x


Welcome to Our House: A Review of FEMSLICK – By Sam Brooks

Auckland creative collective FAFSWAG goes global in this must-see doco




FAFSWAG Artist Manu Vaea is an interdisciplinary artist that works in performance poetry and cultural activation. Among his many talents he is also an exceptional writer and illustrator. He likes to keep most situations really humble but you wouldn’t think that about his writing. it’s sharp and piercing and really not keen on apologies. lol His voice as an artist is one we’ve embraced into the collective as the perfect blend of critical guinsoo surgery and salty observational humour.

In March Manu will be joining his performance trio WITCH BITCH – including artist Sione Monu and Pati Solomona Tyrell for their first exhibition together at enjoy Public Art Gallery in Wellington. This is gonna be a mix of synchronized 3 channel video instillation and activation. .

This month Manu’s work will be featured in the stage production Loud & Queer for this years Auckland PRIDE Festival. We’re really excited to be sharing space with this hot production during Basement Theaters PRIDE season. FEMSLICK and LOUD & QUEER are garunteed to be the perfect solution to social sensory deporvation and Aucklands zzzzZZ night life. Make sure you come check out both shows as we share space and f*ck it up together.