Deakin University

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Kali Vou (indigenous techknowledges)

posted on 2018-01-01, 00:00 authored by Torika Bolatagici, Shaun BangayShaun Bangay, Lienors TorreLienors Torre, Simeon TaylorSimeon Taylor, Alexander Baldwin, Emele Ugavule, Ayeesha Ash
A sculptural response to traditional Fijian kali (headrests), containing an audio track that emist the sounds of Fijian diaspora sharing stories of their hair journey, care, rituals and knowledge.



Mangere Arts Centre - Nga Tohu o Uenuku

Place of publication

Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand

Material type

art original

Indigenous content

This research output may contain the names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. We apologise for any distress that may occur.

Grant ID



Project "Tabu: Fijian Kali and Hair Ritual" as part of curated exhibition Wantok (curated by Luisa Tora) - part of Mangere Arts Centre Nga Tohu o Uenuku. Lead by Chief Investigators Dr Torika Bolatagici and Dr Lienors Torre in collaboration with Dr Shaun Bangay, Dr Alexander Baldwin, Mr Simeon Taylor, Emele Ugavule and Ayeesha Ash.

Research statement

Background In Fijian culture the head is sacred (tabu) and not to be touched. The care and styling of hair for men and women holds special significance in rituals and rites of passage. This multidisciplinary project was informed by museum research and Fijian community consultation which led to the production of three new bodies of work - combining photography, video, performance, sculpture and digital technologies. By connecting artists and the broader Fijian community with the Pacific Collection at the Australian Museum, the researchers investigated how indigenous embodied knowledge is performed by diaspora in contemporary contexts and how traditions of the past inform present practices. Contribution The portfolio Tabu includes 3 works: Tadra, a single channel video projection with sound, authored by Torika Bolatagici; Tadrua, a series of 6 photographic portraits; and Kali Vou, an acrylic sculpture and new media installation, co-authored by T Bolatagici, L Torre and S Taylor. Significance Working with the particular research materials, artefacts, and research participants that this project drew upon, the researched opened up broader questions around the ways in which museum artefacts hold mana (spirit) and are containers of memory. These works were presented in the exhibition Wantok (curated by Luisa Tora) - part of Mangere Arts Centre - Nga Tohu o Uenuku’s programming marking the 125th anniversary of suffrage in Aotearoa New Zealand. This project was funded by the Australia Council - $31,911

Publication classification

JO1 Original Creative Works – Visual Art Work


NTRO Medium


Contains 3 works: Single channel video projection with sound. Dimensions variable. 17:00 authored by Torika Bolatagici Series of 6 photographic portraits. Digital print on vinyl. 1000 x 1500mm authored by Torika Bolatagici Acrylic sculpture and new media installation. 450mm x 200mm approx. Co-authored by Torika Bolatagici, Lienores Torre and Simeon Taylor.

Related work

Tadra (to dream)

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