Dayglo self-portraits featuring metallic bodysuits, crazy headdresses and tapa-style backdrops? Sign us up!
Telly Tuita was just nine when he left Tonga. Nowadays, based in Wellington, his artwork looks back at the country of his birth, his memories of it refracted through time and distance.
He calls his distinctive visual language ‘Tongpop’, a mashup of historical and contemporary references, monarchies and gods, consumer culture and timeless traditions. His works are also a way of processing recollections of the country he hasn’t visited for over 20 years.
Here on Te Ara Tahuhu, Britomart is proud to present two of Tuita’s photographic suites in partnership with the Aotearoa Art Fair, being held at The Cloud on Queens Wharf from March 2-5. Telly's works will be on display throughout the month of March.
The majority of Telly's works on Te Ara Tahuhu and Galway Street are from a series entitled The Immortal Tango of Love and War, self-portraits staged against tapa-like backdrops that Telly paints himself. In the photographs, Telly poses in shiny pink and blue bodysuits, assuming the roles of 'Ofa and Tau, love and war.
Telly calls his distinctive visual language ‘Tongpop’, a mashup of historical and contemporary references, monarchies and gods, consumer culture and timeless traditions. Curator Robert Leonard has described Telly’s works as places with a “collision of indigenous and pop sensibilities, where colonised and colonising rub together, where traditional, grounded oral cultures dance with global mass media”.
We love the power that good art has to engage our senses and showcase other perspectives. So we're delighted to welcome Telly's vivid, colourful works to Britomart – and we're looking forward to the Aotearoa Art Fair, too. We hope to see you there. Telly's work is available through Bergman Gallery.
And if you need a reminder of the permanent art treasures that are here to make every day at Britomart a little bit better, you refresh your memory right here on this site.