With Leilani A. Sio (curator), Jamie Berry (Film maker), Tash Helasdottir-Cole (Film maker).
Despite the on-going influence of outside forces and western frameworks of religion and thought, Polynesia has held fast (if sometimes tenuously) to indigenous beliefs around gender and sexuality. Decolonisation is in action - a breathing, living force and one that will not be wiped out by the consistent pressures from outside to conform to the status quo.
“I shudder when I hear about Maori coming out of the closet. Closets were non-existent in the Maori world, and in former times, closets were toilet facilities in Europe. So if you want to come out my brothers and sisters, you need to remember that you are already out.” Te Taite Cooper, Sexuality & The Stories of Indigenous People.
Dr. Jessica Hutchings, editor of Sexuality & The Stories of Indigenous People will open the evening with a discussion about the book and how its relevancy is felt strongly eleven years later.
Ana Te Whaiti and Shaniqua Tillick have been invited to read an extract from Te Taite Cooper’s essay from the book - Why do Māori Come Out of Closets?
Polysexual is a celebration and a marked page of the journey so far in the vast continent that is Oceania - The Almighty Moana O Pasefika and the nations within and their struggles of decolonization around sexuality and gender.
Curator Leilani A Sio will introduce two visual clips made by local takataapui filmmakers Jamie Berry and Tash Helasdottir-Cole, before the main feature documentary Leitis In Waiting produced by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu of Kumu Hina.
Jamie Berry of Te Aitanga-ā-Māhaki, Tairāwhiti is a multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker based in Wellington. Her mahi centres around DNA, whakapapa and identity, using soundscape and visual projection. Jamie currently works within team CORE Digital and exhibits around Aotearoa and internationally. Jamie is an aunty to 16 tamariki who are her main motivators to help build a sustainable and equal future for all.
Tash Helasdottir-Cole is a photographer and film maker of Māori (Ngāti Porou) and Pākehā descent. She grew up in Te Whanganui-ā-Tara where she continues to live with her partner and child. She has an education in visual arts, graphic design and photography.
She is interested in visual storytelling and is passionate about sharing people’s stories through her lens, creating engaging portraits and vignettes.