Fale-ship: Tai Nimo


Fun, warm and vibrant, Tai’s work speaks to her own experience, embracing and celebrating her culture in the hopes that it will inspire others to do the same. Doing her Fale-ship in lockdown encouraged Tai to hone her skills and expand her knowledge by exploring digital mediums. 

“I am of Tongan, German descent on my father’s side and Cook Island, Pakeha on my mother’s side. My conceptual practice is centred around being ‘Afakasi’ (mixed) and my creative practice is Illustration, stop-motion animation and traditional drawing. I’m currently located in Tauranga, Bay of Plenty and this is where my Fale-ship Residency is taking place (although my heart will always be for Mangere). I’m in my final year of undergraduate studies (BFA) at UoA Elam, School of Fine Arts. I’m extremely passionate in creating work that reflects my mixed heritage and how I navigate my identity in today’s environment.” 

– Tai Nimo

Using illustration and stop-motion, Tai navigates her Afakasi identity through her art. A sense of nostalgia and memories of childhood are explored through the colourful palette of her self-portraits. Proudly presenting herself and her culture through bold lines and flowing movement. 

In Between’

Tai Nimo, 2021

“In Between – is a series of self-portraits I illustrated based around the different forms my cultural identity has taken during different stages of my life.  I chose to incorporate the bright ‘Lunch Box’ colours as a reference to my inner child, as a way of acknowledging her and the struggles she faced growing up as an Afakasi.” 

“I drew each frame of the stop-motion animations. One challenge to creating these animations was working within the time frame of two weeks. A highlight of working in a tight schedule, was being able to create short clips in which I feel represents me best in my skills and conceptual ideas. These animations are to be played on loop.” 


Check out Tai’s highlight video as she reflects on her Tautai Fale-ship Residency!  

Tai reflects on her Fale-ship experience in the Bay of Plenty in contrast with her upbringing in Mangere, South Auckland. The Fale-ship Residency allowed her time to reflect upon her childhood growing up as an Afakasi kid, and how she proudly embraces her cultural identity today. 

“This work is me and is proudly mine… I do want to share myself with people who are willing to look at my art, as these are a reflection of my identity, childhood and these are self-portraits. So I would want them to see me, for me.” 


Video by @NoSix

@taiz.art | @tai.nimo

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