Theres currently a tapa exhibition showing. A mother daughter duo from Tonga. The pieces are so beautiful. They made a documentary about their trip back to Tonga to teach the local women how to make tapa (they had stopped and forgotten the process). In the theatre space they had cushions to sit on the ground, it gave me the idea for my Crit. I want everyone sitting down on the ground, shoes off in a circle.
I finally got to see the work by Ariella Aïsha Azoulay
It was a perfect film for my current research. She focuses on African and middle eastern artefacts. I wrote some notes while watching (mostly word vomit):
Possibly push uncomfortablity
Voice talking in a way that makes the viewer feel uncomfortable
Normalisation of violence
“Generously” give back what was never theirs
Colonial gesture of “inclusion”
Humanity of objects
Disowning of objects
Repairative measures - museums putting artefacts next to photos of the objects being used
No photos during viewing
Can only touch if you say a prayer
“The museum sees it as a success that you can imagine yourself walking through old Babylon without questioning why?”
Imaginary dislocation, palatable culture
The work really focuses on the negative side of the situation, which is a valid thing to focus on but I don't really want to do that. The video does bring up a really interesting conversation about accessibility. It started me thinking about how annoyed I get when people treat these objects without respect and touch them.
The idea of these objects being behind a glass doesn't feel right. But also also people touching these objects doesn't feel right. I think my main issue is that these objects stories aren't being told in the first place. So everything else after that, including the way they are displayed don't feel right. If they are displayed with their stories being told, would I be ok with people touching them and playing with them??
I was able to help with painting a piece of tapa for the first time earlier this year. When your painting and making tapa you don't have to worry about damaging the works. The makers/painters walk in over the tapa without being precious about it. Art in the pacific is something you live on, around and USE. I want to treat these objects in that way.