FAFSWAG is the 2017 Company in Residence at Basement Theatre. With our sold out season entitled FEMSLICK and follow up project entitled FA’AAFA – FAFSWAG is gearing up for our third instalment as part of our annual residency entitled NEON BOOTLEG.

For festival bookings or general enquiries about any of these creative properties please contact Company Director Tanu Gago at


“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.


Directed by Pati Solomona Tyrell
Featuring poetry by Tusiata Avia
Performed by Falencie Filipo, Moe Laga, Joey Tinai & Pati Solomona Tyrell

As a lens based media artist Tyrell’s story telling is immersive and world building. At its centre is his body, his culture and his community. Described in the image note for the publication ‘BLACK MARKS ON THE WHITE PAGE’ edited by Witi Ihimaera and Tina Makereti, Fa’aafa is referred to as…

“A portal into another world, its colours saturated by night and desire and the youthful swagger of its subjects, whose eyes issue a challenge and invitation”

Devised in 2015 as a solo performance Fa’aafa has travelled across Aotearoa for the past two years as a cultural Acti-VA-tion; a term coined by iconic Pacific artist Rosanna Raymond. The ‘VA’ refers to a Samoan philosophical understanding of space as ‘active’, not as empty and passive, but activated by people, relationships and reciprocal obligations.

This powerful interdisciplinary piece of storytelling continues to defy genre definition. Invoking dense cultural knowledge and translating Samoan epistemologies within a contemporary art language of movement and audio visuals for modern audiences.

Dislocated from cultural space this works precarious form and other worldly aesthetic still make it difficult to categorise. Fa’aafa by its simplest definition is an ‘experience’. Fluid in language and physical phrase as it is in context and genre, Fa’aafa (A Samoan conception of half) is always in flux, existing in duality as a live performance and also a digital moving image artwork.

Recently featured as part of the Yirramboi First Nations Indigenous Arts Festival in Melbourne and MCA Art-bar at the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney Australia, Fa’aafa was delivered in its last iteration as a solo performance in the ‘Tama Toa’ showcase as part of the 2017 Pacific Dance Festival in Auckland.

Tyrell’s reimagining of the work for Basement Theatre will see Fa’aafa expand on its cultural mythology and narrative universe. Featuring a new cast of emerging and established performers, and an entirely new soundscape and visual design, with poetry by award winning Samoan poet Tusiata Avia, Fa’aafa will adorn a new silhouette for a new audience.


FEMSLICK is a series of vignettes set against underground Vogue Culture in New Zealand.  Flexing urgency and vitality, this world is dripping in body politics, culture vultures, urban aesthetics and lots of Banji realness.

Told through movement, soundscape and urban material culture, this devised work scrutinises redundant gender norms and tired cultural codes with vivid and timely responses that pull no punches.  Unpacking the complexities of queer brown bodies as they navigate cultural and social space in real time.

Synced to the rhythmic pulse of a Vogue Ball, this work connects its audience directly into its advocacy of self-defence, self-love and self-preservation.  Don’t expect to remain sedated and docile like passive voyeurs.  It’s not that kind of party.  FEMSLICK stays fucking up the patriarchy, one Caucasian space at a time.

Directed by Akashi Fisiinaua, with styling by Jasper Powell, featuring Cypris Afakasi, Falencie Filipo, Akashi Fisiinaua, Gabriel Halatoa, Moe Laga, Jaydess Nand, Jacob Temata and Jaycee Tanuvasa.

FEMSLICK is produced by FAFSWAG Arts Collective and funded by Creative New Zealand.