torika bolatagici

Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

Vinaka vakalevu

In Uncategorized on April 20, 2009 at 10:40 am

A big thank you to everyone who came down to the opening of Kurunavanua: Fijian Bodies and the Economy of War at Red Wall Gallery last night. In particular I would like to thank Rod Ewins for a wonderful opening speech which really helped to contextualise the work for those not familiar with Fijian history and culture. It was an absolute honour to have him open my exhibition. And a big thank you to my husband, my daughter and my mum for all their help, love and support.

Kurunavanua – Opening in Hobart this Sunday!

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2009 at 10:06 pm

kurunavanua_webKurunavanua: Fijian Bodies and the Economy of War
Opening 5:30pm, Sunday 19 April by Dr Rod Ewins

A photographic exhibition by Torika Bolatagici
19 April – 16 May 2009 Red Wall Gallery

Republic Bar & Café, 299 Elizabeth Street, North Hobart, Tasmania
Gallery Hours: open during Republic Bar & Café Hours, Monday to Sunday.

Pratap Chaterjee on Democracy Now!

In Uncategorized on April 7, 2009 at 12:04 am

Today, some of that most dangerous work is done by robots, and the dirty and dull stuff that Peter Singer talks about is done by South Asians, Southeast Asians, and they comprise, you know, Halliburton’s Army. So companies like KBR, a former—Kellogg Brown & Root, a former subsidiary of Halliburton, are now able to make money by providing—my book opens with Donald Rumsfeld saying, “Why should we, you know, Americans, be doing these things like cleaning toilets? We can outsource that. We need our soldiers to be able to do, you know, the important things in war.” And really, this is only possible, because with a volunteer army, as opposed to a draft army, you can recruit people from other countries.

I talked to drivers. They’re Fijian truck drivers. I think you might even have an interview that I did with this Fijian truck driver, who—ironically, Peter Singer’s, you know, grandfather was a soldier in the South Pacific; now you have truck drivers being flown from Fiji, you know, and people being flown from Sri Lanka, to come to fight in somebody else’s war, the American war. And their job, you know, for $300 a month, is to make sure that American troops can fight in Iraq.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to go to that clip that you describe. You can set it up for us, the clip of the Fijian driver.

PRATAP CHATTERJEE: The clip—the driver’s name is Titoko Savuwati, and he’s from Fiji, from Totoya Lau, and he basically was lured to Iraq with promise of a $3,000 salary. Once he actually got there, he discovered he’s going to be paid 50 KD a trip, which is about—


PRATAP CHATTERJEE: A KD is a Kuwaiti dinar, so that’s about $170.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go to the clip.

TITOKO SAVUWATI: They never gave us any insurance. Most of our friends were shooting. Some was very badly shot, accident. But company never paid me anything. No single money. Like myself, I was fall down. My truck was tumbled, fall down. Yeah. So now, see my leg? I’m not going good now. I complained, but the company never gave me any money. Most of our trip to Iraq, we were only paid with 50 KDs allowance for trip. That’s all. Yeah. For 175 in one trip, they pay us 50 KD only for cross the border.

PRATAP CHATTERJEE: There and back?

TITOKO SAVUWATI: Yeah. Go, come back. Yeah. I think that 50 KD is filter for the drivers to go to Iraq, come back. I was asking, if anything happened to my life, I’m shooting from the Iraq people, maybe I die, is that 50 KD can send to my family to make my family survive by that 50 KD?

AMY GOODMAN: Pratap Chatterjee?

PRATAP CHATTERJEE: I mean, this is $180 he’s talking about. Now, actually, it’s $170, because of the exchange rates, that he’s getting paid. And the irony of Titoko, one day he dropped me off, and he said, “Hey, listen. Can I borrow one KD”—that was $3.50—“so I can go get some lunch?” Here’s this man driving, you know, twice—he’s driven a hundred trips into Iraq, you know, each time being paid $180 from this company, Agility. It’s a subcontractor to KBR. And at the end of the day, he’s bringing food, he’s bringing ice cream and bagels and turkey and—you know, to American soldiers. But his life, when he gets injured, nobody pays him. If he dies, you know, who’s going to take care of his family?

But that is Halliburton’s Army. It is an army of cheap labor, you know, working for big contractors in Houston that keeps the US Army—the US Army will not shut this operation down. Obama is not going to kick these guys out, because how does he ship back the equipment from Iraq to the United States? He’s going to have to use these contractors. Everything went in with the contractors. It’s like shutting down a nuclear power station. Who knows the system best, you know, to shut down a nuclear power station? You go back to the Bechtels who built it to shut it down. Same thing here. When Obama—if he moves soldiers out of that theater, he’s either going to use more contractors, or he’s going to use those contractors to bring them back. So, they’ve made $25 billion in contracts so far. They’re going to make another $10 billion, at least.

Torika’s work at Left Forum 2009

In Uncategorized on April 5, 2009 at 12:51 am

Torika’s works ‘Expendable Flesh’, ‘Another Sun’, ‘My Air (Outside/In)’ and ‘My Ocean (Inside/Out)’
will be exhibited at the upcoming Left Forum conference being held at Pace University, New York. April 17-19, 2009.

The line-up of artists/activists/theorists is mind blowing. Check out more at:

Photojournalism and the Aesthetics of Suffering: Embedded Versus Unembedded and Sympathy versus Empathy
Joel Simpson (Chair) – Curator, Photographer and Critic
Anthony Suau – ex-Time photogrpaher
Antonin Kratochvil – First place, 2002 World Press photo award Kael Alford – Unembedded photojournalist in Iraq
Kate Orne – Brothels and Fundamentalism in Pakistan

Radical Left/International Film Makers
Big Noise Collective Members
Michael Fox
Sílvia Leindecker
Clifton Ross

Photography: Revealing the Socially Invisible
Diane Neumeier (Chair) – Photography, Rutgers; Editor New American Feminist Photographies
Donna Ferrato – Love & Lust; Living with the Enemy
Mariette Pathy-Allen – The Gender Frontier
Hank Willis Thomas – The B(r)anded Series (one of my faves!!!)
Other artists included in the exhibition include Cynthia Hauk, Emily Antenucci, Samantha Box, Margaret McCarthy, Ashley Marinaccio, Vikrum Dave Aiyer,  Torika Bolatagici, Dan McCormack, Bahar Behbahani, Carole Ashley,  Steve Matthews,  Anna-Maria Vag,  Grace Graupe Pillard,  Paula Gillen,  Adrian Smith,  Eliza Stein, Kameela Rasheed,  Madeleine Hatz,  Erik Benjamins,  Martha Rosler,  David Lambert,  Ron Rocco, George Haddad, Susan L. Yung,  Cyndi Lenz, Rebecca Hackenmann, Robert Toedter.