Our recent Vā Kōrero was a follow-up to the ASAO session, 'Artefacts of Relations: Building in Te Moananui', convened by Albert L. Refiti & Rau Hoskins in Hawaiʻi earlier this year. Albert and Sione Faletau had a chance to share their presentations with us in the Pacific Space here at AUT.
Dr Sione Faletau describes his multidisciplinary art practice as the storying and narrating of Tongan and Moana concepts. In his talk, ‘Tala ē Fonua / ʻOngo mei he Fonua: Resonance of the land’, Sione explored the Tongan concept of ‘ongo, which has the dual meaning of “sound” and “to feel”. ‘Ongo or lono and rongo in other Moana cultures describes the sensation of vibrating sounds caused by the environment, people and unseen presences that is often described as ‘’feeling’’. Sione utilises these elements of ‘ongo to create site-specific work that responds to the fonua and architecture. Sione is an artist who works mainly with video and sound and has a Masters and Doctorate of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts at UoA . He is the Vā Moana Postdoctoral Fellow working on the Marsden-funded research Artefacts of Relations: building in Moananui.
Dr Albert L. Refiti revisited his fieldwork from the late 1990’s to 2011 on the Matai Tufuga (leading architectural craftsperson) Tataufaigā Faigā from Saipipi, Savai’i in Samoa. The talk traced the ancestry and origin of the Samoan builders guild that links Lagituaiva (ninth heaven), Fiti on the island of Manu’a, and the villages of Faleolo and Afolau in the A’ana district of Upolu. It will also look at the work of Tataufaiga Faiga to understand his practice and the relationship that the Tufuga-faufale clan had with Samoan culture. Albert is associate professor of Art and Design and Postgraduate Studies at AUT, and also the current convenor of the Vā Moana Research Cluster which he founded with Tina Engels-Schwarzpaul in 2007.
Vā Kōrero operates as a quarterly platform to support the research and practice of cluster members and our extended network. Affiliates, candidates, and wider whānau are invited to share in ceremony, food, and presentations of research; to engage with and seek support/mentorship from knowledge holders, senior academics, and artists alike.