torika bolatagici

Archive for January, 2008|Monthly archive page

FROM TABOO TO ICON: Africanist Turnabout

In Uncategorized on January 31, 2008 at 1:26 am

January 10, 2008 – February 10, 2008

Opening Reception: Thursday, January  10, 2008
Reception and Curator/Artist Talk:  Friday, February 1, 2008
Ice Box Project Space
1400 N. American St.
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Crane Arts

 Something to Stand On


Sophie Sanders, PhD candidate, Art History Department, Tyler School of Art, Temple University; MA, Slade School of Art, University College London

Shervone Neckles, MA Art Education, Columbia Teacher’s College, MFA Queens College 

From Taboo to Icon: Africanist Turnabout is a part of African Impressions / Contemporary Art, a series of symposia and events that explore modern and contemporary art from the perspective of African influences and voices.  This exhibition presents artwork in all media that explores the concept of Africanist aesthetics and the taboo or iconic aspect of these influences in contemporary western culture.  Contemporary artists from diverse origins respond to the censoring, impact, and celebration of Black and African Diaspora cultural aesthetics, which have been considered taboo in some historical contexts and iconic in others.  These artists also re-investigate the omissions in history and contemporary American culture by questioning appropriation and what is seen and unseen in popular culture and fine art.  

From Taboo to Icon: Africanist Turnabout will transform the Ice Box gallery into what philosopher bell hooks terms as a “Learning Community,” which invites the public to become active participants in action and reflection.  The exhibition will be engaged to think about how all forms of visual representation have the ability to become iconic when they achieve prominence and familiarity through frequent repetition. Some works deal with preserving relics, memories, history, and tradition which are often associated with the sacred and venerated, while others connect with ancestral heritage of the African Diaspora and honor the individuals who are often less visible in fine art contexts.  A number of works in the show will also challenge or complicate the very notion of traditional African aesthetics in a changing global context.

Seeking Participants: Pacific Women Artists living in Diaspora

In Uncategorized on January 30, 2008 at 9:45 pm

Torika Bolatagici is seeking participants to interview for a forthcoming book chapter (Re)constructing Pacific Islander Identities: Negotiations of the ‘fake’ and ‘authentic’ (working title).

Interviews will be conducted informally via email, in February 2008. If you are interested in being involved, she would love to hear from you. Please email her at by 5 February 2008. Participants should be diasporic Pacific Islander women, aged 18-30. Artists (of any discipline) should be based in either Australia or New Zealand.

The chapter will explore the diverse positions of young contemporary artists of the Pacific Island diaspora. Through informal discussions and interviews with young diasporic women this chapter will draw out the voices of these women and their experience of the contemporary art scene and their feelings about Pacific Islander identity within the context of Australia and New Zealand.

As diasporic women (some of mixed-ancestry) these artists inhabit a liminal space between home and host whose work challenges and resists popular constructions of Pacific Islander identity in relation to gender, race, sexuality. This chapter addresses notions of the ‘fake’ and ‘authentic’ in relation to diasporic identity and the many ways in which the artists negotiate a terrain in which authenticity is valued but always determined by context.

The dialogue will take place between women who have exhibited locally and internationally to a vast range of audiences and represents artists at different stages of their careers.

About the author:

Torika is an Associate Lecturer in the School of Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University where she teaches contemporary photographic theory and practice. She is a current PhD candidate at the College of Fine Arts (UNSW), where her current research investigates the representation of the black body in war, and focuses on Fijian soldiers in Iraq.

Her photomedia and video work has been exhibited in international exhibitions, including: Kurunavanua: Black Bodies and War, Collingwood Gallery, Melbourne (2007); The Real Fiji, Mangere Arts Centre, Manukau City, Aotearoa New Zealand (2006); Fresh 8, Revolver Upstairs, Melbourne (2005) (In)secure, Cube 37, Frankston (2003); Pacific Notion, Macy Gallery, New York (2002); Motivation & Inspiration, McInery Building, Melbourne (2001); Lanuola: Colors of Life, Somarts Gallery, San Francisco (2001). Her recent publication includes ‘Claiming the (n)either/(n)or of ‘third space’ (re)presenting Hybrid Identity and the Embodiment of Mixed Race’ Journal of Intercultural Studies, Vol. 25, No. 1, 2004, pp. 75-85.

Author: Torika Bolatagici, Deakin University, Australia.