CHANGEMAKERS SERIES | ANGELA TIATIA

The spirit of our NEW DAWN Collection embodies change, evolution + collaboration. These fine qualities are the very essence of the women we have featured in our series of inspiring Changemakers. 

Creating exacting change in many areas, from the environment to art and health and nutrition, these women bring our collection alive with their passion, power + persuasion.

Angela Tiatia is a multimedia artist who explores contemporary culture, drawing attention to its relationship with gender, neo-colonialism and the commodification of the body and place, often through the lenses of history and popular culture. Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Angela Tiatia is of Samoan and Australian heritage and she talks to us about her creativity, her favourite works and her passion for the environment…

How do you dream up the concepts for your major works?

It's a combination of researching archival images of real life and constructed events/films/stories, then imagining and drawing different outcomes.  Walking is my thinking space and time and I often come up with the foundation of my works by walking through neighbourhoods or in nature either very early in the morning or late at night when no one is around. 

You spent two decades as a model. How has this influenced your work involving women's rights and the female body?

Being in the industry for so long influenced my practice in being hyper aware of the power of having a camera in my hand. The camera and its images are a powerful force - it is even more powerful when placed in the hands of a woman. When this occurs, she is no longer the object to be viewed and instead becomes the subject.

What does creativity mean to you?

Creativity is having the curiosity to always ask questions.  To me it means having an open mind.

Your list of achievements in the art world are so impressive! To name a few… In 2017 your video installation The Fall, which captured the 1942 battle the Fall of Singapore in a single take with a cast of 30, was met with widespread acclaim and made you of a household name. You have been awarded the Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize, the most lucrative professional art prize of its kind in Australia. You have also been a finalist for the coveted 2018 Archibald Prize…. As an artist, what are you most proud of?

I have two works that I am most proud of. My very first work ever made - Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis. Made on a whim, very quickly. And Narcissus, a high production work which involved working with over 80 very talented industry professionals and will be showing at the National Gallery of Victoria in December for the 2020 Triennial. This work took one year to make and was a very involved process from start to finish. Both works are in striking contrast to each other in every way.

How does art have the power to bring awareness to issues and ultimately affect change?

It allows for different perspectives on issues that a viewer may not have been aware of. Maybe if we are lucky as artists, this may inspire the viewer to talk to the artist or curator or others - and may even lead to a change in how they think about something or someone in a positive way.

What is your signature style?

 I am a classic casual dresser - blue jeans, a t-shirt and sneakers.

Favourite piece in the Ginger & Smart Resort 21 Collection?

 I love the Solace wrap dress... gorgeous!

What is your wish for change in the future?

My everything is focused on the environment. We have 7 years to make a change - it's time for all of us to act together on climate emergency.