Kalisolaite 'Uhila


20 March 2pm


Uhila is one of the leading artists in Aotearoa-New Zealand. A finalist in the Walters Prize in 2014 for his work  Mo'ui Tukuhausia. He was also awarded the Harriet Friedlander Residency in 2021.

‘Uhila’s art practice centers on live performance, in which the expression of his ideas take place, unrehearsed, in gallery spaces and informal spaces outside of a traditional theatre environment

For Te Ata, according to Uhila, “Tu’u hake is a performance work I will present at the event. The ordinary materials that I will install in the space are either rope or chains  I will be activating with a simple gesture that speaks to the complicated context of everyday life and ideas of standing up for your rights. The rope alludes to the legend of Māui fishing up Aotearoa’s North Island and the umbilical cord of new birth. Through this performance, I would express empathy for the people of the land and give courage to the local community”.

Kalisolaite 'Uhila

Tongan born Kalisolaite 'Uhila’s innovative visual art uses metaphor to express ideas and provoke audience introspection. His experiential performances have involved living rough on the streets of Auckland for three months, and living as a pig in a crate, as well as conducting the waves of the Pacific Ocean from its shore. Through his work he explores cultural, social and political themes such as urban homelessness, and how the ocean can connect people from distant, disparate nations. He has also examined how traditional Tongan notions of the relationship between people and sacred animals, like pigs, intersect with Western ideas. He provokes and challenges audiences to confront prejudices in order to understand works that oscillate between Tongan and Western notions of self, space and time.




Photography : Sam Trubridge

Portrait photo : Pati Solomona Tyrell