Holding On

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Type of Object
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HOLDING ON, 2015 is a performance piece which captures a struggle between the body of the artist and the body of the ocean as the tide gradually comes in. The artist lies on a concrete slab which stretches out into the ocean; a man-made island. Underestimating the ferocity and strength of the incoming waves, she struggles to maintain her grasp on the island. As the light fades into darkness, it is unknown whether she will be able to hold on or be swept away.

This video was filmed on Tuvalu, in the South Pacific. It is one of the most endangered nations currently facing the impacts of climate change, as each day the tide claims more of the island and submerges peoples’ homes in ocean water.

This video provides a small view of a major issue concerning many people world-wide, and a metaphor for unyielding faith of those confronted by imminent disaster. As day turns to night and untamed waves sweep across the artist’s body she lays prostrate, arms outstretched, desperately holding on to the stone platform, to her island, to the hope of salvation. The waves wash across her body in an almost cleansing motion. Tiatia’s video speaks of the constant and unrelenting faith required of the people of Tuvalu, who confront a monumental challenge each day and struggle against it.

Angela Tiatia explores contemporary culture, drawing attention to its relationship to representation, gender, neo-colonialism and the commodification of the body and place, often through the lenses of history and popular culture.

Tiatia's work has been included in a number of important institutional exhibitions, including After the Fall, National Museum of Singapore (2017/2018); Personal Structures, 57th Venice Biennial (2017); Eighth Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT 8), Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (2015/16); as well as Tūrangawaewae: Art and New Zealand, Toi Art, Gallery of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, New Zealand (2018).

She is represented by Sullivan + Strumpf in Sydney, Australia.