Melissa Aluesi Postcard

Melissa Aluesi

Tongan / Sāmoan / Fijian / Palagi Multi-disciplined Storyteller

Postcards Unlocked #11

Melissa Aluesi Tautai
Postcard Image:
Claim Sanctuary, Activating the Moana group show, curated by Katherine Atafu-Mayo | Photo by Tautai

My practice challenges the theory of nature vs nurture. My upbringing was predominately built around palagi tikanga, which always felt displaced. 

“Opening up the investigation into my Polynesian blood brought forth realization that my culture is embedded in my bones.”

Melissa Aluesi

Connection cannot always be taught. My art is motivated by the blood memories of my Polynesian ancestors through the vehicle of spiritualism. Constant talanoa of mumae such as colonisation, diaspora, afakasi imposter syndrome, in my work has opened up space to experience higher understanding of my connection to the Moana and my ancestors. The medium ranges from performance to painting but act of talanoa remains the same. 

I re-imagine these blood memories into a new form with my postcolonial world views and available tools. My research gathering and creative process involves mediation by the Moana, connecting with the stories of my people and writing. I’ve coined the term “Neo-Nesian” for my art style. 

“E sui faiga ae tumau fa’avae” 
The form changes, but the underlying principles remain

Sāmoan proverb

I’m currently working on a performance piece that expands on the spaces I’ve been able to enter into through my initiation works “Claim Sanctuary”, “Te Lapa” and “Mark of the Beast” created in 2019. I’m currently in my last year of a Bachelor of Fine Arts through Whitecliffe College of Art and Design and working at Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tamaki. 

Melissa Online
Facebook: Melicious Mel Mel | Instagram: @gap.tooth.boo | @meliciousmelmel

The Postcards Unlocked Collection
View Melissa’s original postcard here.

For further information please email us
Tautai.org #tautai4lyfe

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