The Fresh Milk Art Platform is pleased to present FRESH MILK XIX, taking place on Monday, June 27, 2016 from 6-8 pm. The event will feature Fijian-Australian artist Torika Bolatagici and Barbadian artist Anisah Wood, who are in residence at Fresh Milk for the month of June.
Torika will be speaking about both her own work and that of a selection of Pacific artists in a talk titled ‘Seeing the Black Pacific’. Anisah – the winner of the 2016 ‘My Time’ Local Artist Residency – will make a presentation about her practice and residency experience so far, as well as have an open discussion with Torika about her work.
Seeing the Black Pacific
During her residency in Barbados, Fijian-Australian artist Torika Bolatagici has been exploring the historical, cultural and biotic similarities of the island cultures of Fiji and Barbados. With shared histories of British colonization, cannibal mythology, indentured labour, tourism and a declining sugar industry, there are as many parallels between the two countries as there are differences. Torika is interested in how contemporary artists from these respective regions respond to, reflect and represent the island cultures of Melanesia and the Caribbean.
In this presentation, Torika will give an overview of the diverse practices emerging from Australian-based artists of Melanesian and Indian-Fijian heritage.
Cultural Heritage, Revival and Redress
Julia Mage’au Gray (Papua New Guinea)
Lisa Hilli (Papua New Guinea)
Dulcie Stewart (Fiji)
Performing Contemporary Oceanic Identities
Salote Tawale (Fiji)
Eric Bridgeman (Papua New Guinea)
Positioning the (Geo)political Pacific
Taloi Havini (Autonomous Region of Bougainville);
Mohini Chandra (Fiji)
Torika Bolatagici (Fiji)
About the featured speakers:
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.
Anisah Wood is a visual artist based in Barbados. She is in the process of completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Barbados Community College with a major in Studio Art. Her practice involves video art, digital photography, and installation. She has had the privilege of exhibiting the results of her practice at the Punch Creative Arena, The National Arts Council Barbados and at various national arts competitions.
Torika Bolatagici’s project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.