Mālō e lelei! Introducing the Moana Waiwai, Moana Pāti artist,
Melissa Gilbert is a multi-faceted storyteller who focuses on the constant talanoa of identity, connection and healing. Her work is heavily influenced by her ancestry based in Tonga, Samoa and Fiji. Her broad practice ranges from painting and installation to moving image and live activation – her choice of medium based on the best mode of delivery in service of the work’s message.
Melissa produced new moving image work titled Atua Otua Kalou as part of her 2020 Tautai Fale-ship residency. The work responds to her initiation into live actiVĀtion, Claim Sanctuary, which she performed at Tautai as part of Auckland Art Week 2019. She spent a vigorous year of talanoa afterward to process the experience. As part of this approach, she explored ideas relating to shamanism and ritual from around the world, only to come to the conclusion that she needed to look towards home and to the Tā-Vā time-space theory. Atua Otua Kalou is the rendering of a conversation with ancestors within the realm of Tā-Vā.