The more ancient I am, the more contemporary my work is. I am not doing anything new.
When I do faivā, I perform space. When I do space, I do time – they are inseparable.
When I faivā, I do form. When I do form, I also do content – they are inseparable.
Faivā is the art of organising and performing social duties related to place, the body and environment – they are inseparable.
I am an anti-disciplinary artist. Alive today.
Latai Taumoepeau is a Punake, body-centred performance artist, making live-art-work. Her faivā (body-centred practice) is from her homelands, the Island Kingdom of Tonga and her birthplace Sydney, land of the Gadigal. She mimicked, trained and un-learned dance, in multiple institutions of learning, beginning with her village, a suburban church hall, the club and a university.
Her faivā (performing art) centres Tongan philosophies of relational vā (space) and tā (time); cross-pollinating ancient and everyday temporal practice to make visible the impact of climate crisis in the Pacific. She conducts urgent environmental movements and actions to assist transformation in Oceania.
Latai engages in the socio-political landscape of Australia with sensibilities in race, class & the female body politic; committed to bringing the voice of unseen communities to the frangipani-less foreground. Latai has presented and exhibited across borders, countries, and coastines. Her works are held in private and public collections including written publications.
Latai is the winner of the 2022 ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art, a prestigious award carrying a 15,000€ cash prize, and commission to create a new piece to ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival 2023.
Latai was awarded a 2022 Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship and the Australia Council of the Arts Fellowship in the Emerging and Experimental Arts category. She is also a recipient of the Prague Quadrennial – Excellence in Performance Design Award in 2019.
In the near future Latai will return to her ancestral home and continue the ultimate faivā of deep sea voyaging and celestial navigation before she becomes ancestor.