Queer Pasifika art collective FAFSWAG (Full Interview)

Saturday, 10 February 2024 - 1:30pm to 2:00pm

FAFSWAG in Australia

“Art for Pacific people is not just a practice,it’s a lived embodied vocation that all
Pacific people have” -Tanu Gago (Artist and Founding member of the FAFSWAG
Queer Pasifika Art collective)

“You don’t need a seat at the table, just build your own Fale” - (Elyssia Wilson-Heti
Artist and Producer and member of FAFSWAG)

The iconic queer Pasifika interdisciplinary art collective FAFSWAG has landed in Naarm with
their groundbreaking exhibition Alteration.

PX Whanau’s Sonja Hammer has a Talanoa/Korero with three members of the collective
(Tanu Gago, Elyssia Wilson- Heti and Nahora Ioane) speaking on a myriad of topics from
their art, to personal experiences in the art world, to the politics of being Queer Pasifika First
Nations and an Artist,to the global effect their work is having, to being exhibited for the first
time here in Naarm, what the future means for them and future collaborations beyond
Aotearoa which is their home base.

“Self determination and the sovereignty of our narrative has been so important” -
Elyssia Wilson-Heti

FAFSWAG is a place where artists can come and just figure things out”-Tanu Gago

About the exhibition Alteration: ‘Meeting at the intersections of cultural archival practices,
digital technology and queer Indigenous storytelling, Alteration presents a glimpse into the
shapeshifting practice of the FAFSWAG arts collective. Compiled over ten years of artistic
output, FAFSWAG presents a mixed media archival exhibition of significant works from the
collective between 2013 - 2023.
Developed site specifically from 2020 - 2022 for the world's second largest contemporary
arts festival Documenta15 in Kassel Germany.
ALTERATION the exhibition is the culmination of a decade of collective social practice, and
two years of co-design, co-curation, research and production.
Featuring work from a massive cross-section of the creative industries from independent

practitioners that continue to share networks, resources, skills and experience. From film to
live performing arts, cultural performance, digital arts and installation, the collective has
maintained a fluid approach to the arts, often working with a community of practitioners to
lead large scale interdisciplinary projects with innovative commercial collaborations. These
bodies of work contemplate on lineage and legacy, reclaim stolen narratives, speculate
fictional futures and redefine their own culture, rebelling against a now predictable and fixed
colonial context.’
Artists include:
Jermaine Dean, Falencie Filipo, Tanu Gago, Tapuaki Helu, Elyssia Wilson Heti,
Nahora loane, Hohua Ropate Kurene, Moe Laga-Toleafoa, Tim Swann, Pati Solomona
Tyrell,James Waititi.

FAFSWAG was established in 2013 as an informal Queer arts collective from south
Auckland. As artists and activists FAFSWAG is committed to social change through arts and
innovation, producing bespoke cultural activations that are cutting-edge, culturally
responsive and socially relevant. Operating across a multitude of interdisciplinary art forms
and genres, FAFSWAG artists work collaboratively to activate public and digital space,
speaking to our contexts as Queer Indigenous arts practitioners.
The collective has since exhibited and performed around the world, at the Centre Pompidou
in Paris France, Moku Pacific HQ in London, Emergency Gallery in Vevey Switzerland,
Rotterdam International Film Festival, ImagineNATIVE Toronto Canada, Asinabka
Indigenous arts Festival in Ontario Canada, MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and in 2020
represented New Zealand at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney NIRIN. FAFSWAG was also
awarded the 2020 interdisciplinary Arts Laureate award by the New Zealand Arts
Foundation. In 2022 FAFSWAG represented Aotearoa at the world's second largest
Contemporary Arts Festival - Documenta15 in Kassel, Germany.

Alteration is exhibiting now at the Substation in Newport, Naarm, Victoria in so-called
Australia. It opened Jan 27 and runs until March 28 as part of Midsumma Photo2024.

PX Whanau would like to thank Tanu,Elyssia and Nahora for sharing their words,stories and
time for our special broadcast which went live to air Saturday Feb 10 and the full podcasted
interview for our community.
Nga mihi nui x
Songs included are: Holding in Place by Naomi Sharon - Tanu’s choice
Haere mai Ra/Sway by Bic Runga ( in te reo Maori ) -Elyssia’s choice
JP NEHEMIA - Henua Manihiki ( Kuki Airani) - Nahora’s choice

Saturday 1:30pm to 2:00pm
PX Whanau covers news and views from our queer Pasifika community including the arts and culture and the events that build and nourish our people.


Sonja, Marqy, Lana and Kikki