Torika’s interdisciplinary practice investigates the relationships between visual culture, human ecologies and contemporary Pacific identities. During her time in Barbados, Torika will be undertaking a research-based residency, largely involving engagement with local artists and conducting research in the Colleen Lewis Reading Room (CLRR). She is particularly interested in identifying opportunities to connect Caribbean and Pacific artists whose work might intersect along lines of reflection on culture, identity, place and space within a postcolonial framework.
In 2013, Torika established an initiative called the Community Reading Room; a pop-up destination for research, community discussion and engagement around international visual arts and culture, with a particular focus on contemporary art and theory from Oceania, Africa and the Americas. Many of the texts deal with postcolonial art, literature and philosophy, visual culture, migration, citizenship and cultural identity. As well as spending time researching the collection in the CLRR, she will be investigating points of synergy and opportunities for collaboration and exchange between the two spaces.
Torika will give a public presentation at Fresh Milk about the work of Contemporary Pacific artists from Australia and New Zealand, as well as her own practice. Stay tuned for more details about the date & time for this event!
About Torika Bolatagici:
Torika Bolatagici was born in Tasmania and spent the early years of her life living between Hobart, Sydney and her father’s village – Suvavou, Fiji.
Torika works across a range of media, including photography, video and mixed media site-specific installation. Her interdisciplinary practice investigates the relationship between visual culture, human ecology, postcolonial counter narrative and visual historiography of the Black Pacific. She is interested in exploring the tensions and intersections between gender, embodied knowledge, commodification, migration and globalization.
Torika’s work has been exhibited in New York, San Francisco, Mexico City, Yogyakarta and throughout Aotearoa, New Zealand and Australia. She has published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at local and international conferences and symposia about the representation of mixed-race identity; Pacific arts practice in Australia and Fiji; representations of teachers and teaching in cinema; and gender and militarism in the Pacific.
In her role as Symposium coordinator for the Contemporary Pacific Arts Festival in 2013 and 2014, Torika curated multiple panels to extend the discourse around contemporary Pacific arts practice in Australia and invited speakers to reflect on themes such as art and activism, museums, collecting and curating, cultural appropriation and contemporary practice. She also produced the symposium publication Mana Motu.
As well as 11 years experience teaching at tertiary level, Torika also has experience facilitating youth arts workshops for the local Pacific community, most recently the Pacific Photobook Project in Melbourne and Sydney.
Torika also presents the Community Reading Room – a pop-up destination for research, community discussion and engagement around international visual arts and culture, with a particular focus on contemporary art and theory from Oceania, Africa and the Americas. The Community Reading Room has appeared at Colour Box Studio (2013) and the Footscray Community Arts Centre (2014).
Torika is a photography lecturer in the School of Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University, Melbourne where she teaches contemporary theory and practice. She is currently undertaking a PhD at the School of Art and Design, University of New South Wales.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.