Wansolwara: One Salt Water
17 January 2020 -
29 March 2020
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
181-187 Hay St, Haymarket
Cnr of Oxford St and Greens Rd, Paddington NSW 2021
Wansolwara: One Salt Water is a series of exhibitions, performances and events from across the Pacific and throughout the Great Ocean. Wansolwara – a pidgin word from the Solomon Islands meaning ‘one-salt-water’ or ‘one ocean, one people’ – reflects not a single ocean, but rather a connected waterscape that holds distinct and diverse cultures and communities. Through art, performance and conversation, the project celebrates the depth and diversity of contemporary visual and material culture throughout these regions, placing customary practices alongside contemporary articulations in art, writing and the moving image.
Unfolding across multiple sites over the summer of 2020, Wansolwara: One Salt Water profiles the creativity of the region through multidisciplinary forms. Artists Terry Faleona, Ruha Fifita, Rebecca Ann Hobbs, Shivanjani Lal, Paula Schaafhausen and Vaimaila Urale all present significant bodies of work that trace connections to the Pacific through language, tradition, dance and ceremony. Commissioned by 4A and UNSW Galleries, artist and curator Léuli Eshrāghi presents O le ūa na fua mai Manuʻa a focus within the exhibition that expands the Pacific from a geographical region to consider networks and exchange facilitated by the Great Ocean. The project brings fresh international perspectives to current endeavours to embody and awaken Indigenous sensual and spoken languages through works that focus on language, the body, gender, sex, desire and pleasure. It features works by asinnajaq, Sarah Biscarra Dilley, Sebastián Calfuqueo Aliste, Mariquita Davis, Amrita Hepi, Caroline Monnet, Faye Mullen, Shannon Te Ao, Angela Tiatia and Gutiŋarra Yunupiŋu.
4A and UNSW have also commissioned Troppo Galaktika, a Sydney-based collective to curate the third iteration of Club 4A focused on the continuing and contemporary cultures of the Pacific. This evening of food, parades and performances weaves its way from 4A to a karaoke club in Haymarket, animating the streets of Sydney with performances that occur outside the gallery and within the living, pulsating nightlife of the city.
Alongside the exhibition a series of academic modes of enquiry elucidate key themes of the project. Australian based early-career writers Mitiana Arbon, Winnie Dunn, Enoch Mailangi and Talia Smith have been commissioned to participate in the Wansolwara Writers Program. Their critical responses to the exhibition will be shared on FBi Radio, through podcasts and in a special edition of 4A’s biannual online journal the 4A Papers available in May 2020. A day-long symposium at UNSW Art & Design and series of public programs will further illustrate, through research, the depth and diversity of creativity from the region.
Wansolwara: One Salt Water is exhibited across both 4A (17 Jan – 29 Mar) and UNSW Galleries (17 Jan – 18 April).
Please explain: no one's drowning, baby
Sunday, 19 January 2020, 3:00am
In a discussion moderated by Sydney Festival Artistic Director Wesley Enoch, artist Paula Schaafhausen exhibiting at 4A Centre as part of Wansolwara: One Salt Water will speak to this issue alongside Guardian Australia Pacific Editor, Kate Lyons and UNSW’s Professor John Church, pre-eminent expert in sea level rise, in this major Sydney Festival panel event.
Top image: Front: Paula Schaafhausen, Ebbing Tagaloa, 2020, coconut oil, found objects from Sydney, dimensions variable. Back: Vaimaila Urale, Manamea ma Anivanuanua, 2020, black card and sand, 240 pieces across two walls, each wall installation measuring 5940x2520mm. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy the artist.