studio artist

Latai Taumoepeau

Above: Latai Taumoepeau. Photo: Rhett Wyman

Latai Taumoepeau (b.1972, Gadigal Ngura/Sydney) makes live-art-work. Her faiva (body-centred practice) is from her homelands, the Island Kingdom of Tonga and her birthplace Sydney, land of the Gadigal people. 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 faiva (performing art) centres Tongan philosophies of relational vā (space and 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. Taumoepeau engages in the socio-political landscape of Australia with sensibilities in race, class and the female body politic. She is committed to bringing the voice of unseen communities to the frangipani-less foreground. In the near future she will return to her ancestral home and continue the ultimate faiva of deep sea voyaging and celestial navigation before she becomes an ancestor.

Taumoepeau has presented and exhibited across borders, countries and coastlines, including most recently at the ANTI Festival, Finland; Taipei Contemporary Arts Festival; Sydney Opera House Forecourt; National Portrait Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Art Gallery of New South Wales and Sydney Festival (2023); Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tamaki (2022); Serpentine Galleries, London and 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), 9th Asia Pacific Triennial, Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (2018), among many others. In 2023, she was the recipient of the Creative Australia Emerging and Experimental Arts Award.

We Latai (reminisce) Tau-moe-peau (battle-with-waves)

We stand for Moana Oceania interventions

We stand for the baptism of the frontline

We stand for saltwater sovereignty

We stand for the embodied archive

We stand for 1 degree of difference

We stand for the monstrous femme body

We stand inside shifting co-ordinates of the in-between

We stand for defending our Moana.