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Yuki Kihara presents Talanoa Forum: Swimming Against the Tide online and in person

Talanoa in Venice: October 11–13
Talanoa in Leiden/Amsterdam : October 15–19

Aotearoa New Zealand Pavilion for the 59th International Art Exhibition—the Venice Biennale—artist Yuki Kihara is hosting a virtual and physical event called Talanoa Forum: Swimming Against the Tide in conjunction with her exhibition Paradise Camp, which is being curated by Natalie King. An inclusive, interactive, and transparent discourse process is referred to as talanoa in the pan-Pacific language. Artist Yuki Kihara produced the Swimming Against the Tide Talanoa Forum to further explore the themes of her exhibition Paradise Camp with talanoa, including small island ecologies, intersectionality, oceanhood, colonization, and collections.

Talanoa Forum is an association of artists, curators, scholars, activists, community leaders, and policymakers into a series of critical talanoa inspired by the words of the late Mori New Zealand filmmaker Merata Mita who declared “swimming against the tide makes you stronger.” Talanoa Forum spans across virtual and physical spaces in Venice and Leiden. By promoting causes like Indigenous sovereignty and gender equality, Meta investigated the political tensions in Aotearoa during the 1970s and 1980s. Mita’s statements focus the Talanoa Forum on how regional strategies, such as art, activism, and legislation, are being developed to meet the current global issues. .

The online talanoa are presented September 22 and 29, and November 10, 2022; and in-person talanoa in October 2022 presented in Venice, Italy (October 11/12/13) and Leiden/Amsterdam, the Netherlands (October 15–19). We are pleased to announce Professor Emerita Ngahuia Te Awekotuku and Professor Veronica Strang as our lead speakers for the Talanoa Forum in Venice and Leiden. Incursions, excursions, site visits and lectures form part of the in-person Talanoa Forum. Other speakers include Miriama Bono, Director, Museum of Tahiti; Alex Sua, lawyer and President of Samoa Fa’afafine Association; and author and activist Chantal Spitz.

The online talanoa, which explores numerous thematic constellations that make up the “Paradise Camp universe,” was created in close collaboration with curator Natalie King, environmentalist Lelei Lelaulu, and Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust. These include a revealing discussion between the writers who contributed to the exhibition catalogue published by Thames and Hudson from a staunchly Pasifika perspective with poetry and personal reflections; to exploring the ethical, cultural, and legal frameworks in giving personhood status to the Pacific Ocean alongside the impact of environmental crises as lived experience; and highlighting reflections on co-existence from members from the Firsts Solidarity Network including the national pavilions of Albania, New Zealand, Singapore, Nepal, Poland and United Kingdom brought together by their participation in the 59th Venice Biennale in the context of being “first” in their respective countries.

Online Talanoa: Writers of Paradise Camp, Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Dan Taulapapa McMullin, Patrick Flores, Ioana Gordon Smith, and Yuki Kihara moderated by Natalie King.

Online Talanoa: Pacific Ocean Personhood, Dame Meg Taylor, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Michelle Bender, Katerina Teaiwa, and Joy Enomoto moderated by Lelei Lelaulu.

Online Talanoa: Firsts Solidarity Network, Artist Members of the Venice Biennale Firsts Solidarity Network.

The three-day in-person talanoa in Venice has been developed in close partnership with Francesca Tarocco, Director of THE NEW INSTITUTE Centre for Environmental Humanities (NICHE), art historian Cristina Baldacci and curator Natalie King. By engaging with the urgent themes of the Paradise Camp exhibition, the talanoa will explore the intertwinements of artistic, legal, writing and curatorial perspectives on this socially engaged and multifaceted project; to how artists, curators, and scholars unsettle the boundaries between art and ethnography by highlighting reparation and restitution practices; and a discussion around the theme of water in its multiple material, social, legal and political forms, including attributing legal personhood to water ecologies. The in-person talanoa in Venice is presented in collaboration with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and with Fondazione Querini Stampalia

The five-day in-person talanoa in The Netherlands has been developed in close partnership with curators Wonu Veys and Erna Lije from the National Museum of World Cultures in The Netherlands. Activities includes reviewing the Oceanic collections held in the care of Museum Volkenkunde; to a panel discussion about the Tropenmuseum’s new permanent exhibition Our Colonial Inheritance, which illustrates the enduring impact of colonisation on objects and communities.