Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust
19 Mar 2021
Interests Tautai supports the development of contemporary pacific art through actively fostering and maintaining links between contemporary pacific visual artists.
Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust presents Voyagers: The Niu World, a new exhibition by New Zealand-based, Tongan artists Tui Emma Gillies and Sulieti Fieme’a Burrows.
As a mother-daughter duo, Tui Emma Gillies and Sulieti Fieme’a Burrows create work that captures the essence of family. Through their practice of ngatu or tapa painting, they explore traditions of their Tongan heritage and political trends that shape their world as Polynesian women in Aotearoa. Voyagers: The Niu World presents a collection of tapa created during and after the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown in New Zealand and reflect on the idea of navigating a changed world that is in the midst of a pandemic.
This new body of work aims to tap into the spirit of the great explorers of the Pacific, consulting the stars and charting a course into the wild blue expanse. This exhibition is dedicated to all voyagers navigating ‘The Niu World.’
About the artists
Tui Emma Gillies and Sulieti Fieme’a Burrows are New Zealand-based Tongan artists who specialise in ngatu or tapa art. Their work can be challenging, confronting and controversial, but always with respect to the roots of the medium and ancestors who practised it. Together, they have received grants from Creative New Zealand towards projects in New Zealand, Tonga, and England. Tui and Sulieti have also given presentations about their practice in Melbourne, Vienna, Madrid, Nuku’alofa, Hawaii and throughout New Zealand. Their work is held in private and public collections, including the Royal Academy of Arts, London; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Otago Museum, Dunedin; and Auckland War Memorial Museum, Auckland. Tui and Sulieti were the recipients of the Creative New Zealand Heritage Art Award in 2018. In 2020, Sulieti was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Tongan art and education in the New Year’s Honours list