For its Australian premiere, I present my multilingual performance installation tagatanu‘u. In this work, I create an alofisā ceremonial circle to gather my ancestors, founded on vā relational space with all kin. My opening performance introduces the history of eel ancestor Tuna who becomes the young coconut tree to provide for human lover Sina. In speaking a complex poetic text in ganana Sāmoa, ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, Tałtan, Woi Wurrung, Secwépemc, French and English, phrases in Indigenous languages learnt with friends during 2017 or that my ancestors spoke, I assert multilingual futures beyond a Western consumptive gaze.
I beckon ancestral time to question the exoticisation of history and the commodification of bodies, plants and medicines. Bodies that have been exploited; hidden by shaming, spiritualities and sexualities; and extracted as labour for purposes of agriculture, tourism, the military and nuclear testing. During the performance, I mark the walls surrounding the alofisā in two lines of lega/turmeric, uliuli/charcoal and sina/charcoal, before handling salt water, coconut water, and turmeric water. These flowing waters of life conjure political, corporeal and militaristic references in coded and non-English language to reframe decolonial efforts through consideration of ecological balance and the genealogical reconnection of humanity through the eel-coconut tree ancestor Tuna and the maker ancestor Sina, who is connected by measina, fine weaving, literary works and the colour white, to ceremonial Sāmoan practice.
This work has been developed with Rosanna Raymond, Paradise Cove collective, Ricky Tagaban, Bryan Kamaoli Kuwada, Peter Morin, Tania Willard, Sone Lunaʻi Eshrāghi, Yara El-Ghabdan, Louis-Karl Sioui-Picard, Angela Tiatia, Tyson Campbell, Julia Packard, Doug Jarvis, France Trépanier, Lee Sum Yi, Qu Chang and Zoe Butt in residencies and exhibitions in Victoria, Canada, Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, Hong Kong, and Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
30-45 minute performance, coconut water, turmeric water, charcoal, ochre, macadamia nuts, mylar emergency blankets, coconut scraping stool, metal bowls, books, dimensions variable.
Léuli Eshrāghi is an Australian artist and curator of Sāmoan, Persian and Chinese ancestries living and working between Tiohtià:ke/Montréal and Garrmalang/Darwin, and the inaugural Horizon/Indigenous Futures Postdoctoral Fellow at Concordia University. Léuli creates performances, installations, writing and curatorial projects centred on embodied knowledges, ceremonial-political practices, language renewal and hopeful futures throughout the Great Ocean.
His works have been presented at Centre Never Apart, Montréal (2019), Sharjah Biennial 14: Journey beyond the Echo Chamber (2019), Bathurst Regional Gallery (2019), University of Tasmania Plimsoll Gallery, Hobart (2018) Goldfields Arts Centre, Kalgoorlie (2018), Cairns Regional Art Gallery (2018), Geraldton Regional Art Gallery (2018), Open Space, Victoria (2017), Horsham Regional Art Gallery (2017), Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Honolulu (2017), Spectrum Project Space, Perth (2016), 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney (2016), Artspace Aotearoa, Auckland (2016), Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne (2016) and Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (2015) among others.
Léuli holds a PhD in Curatorial Practice (2019) from Monash University, and serves on the board of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective/Collectif des commissaires autochtones (Canada) since 2016.
Friday 4th October, 6pm
Accompanied by live performance
4th - 19th October 2019