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A'inaisa at APT8


“Caution,” or, “How far do we need to go to fit into

your white box?” Sunameke and the adaptation of Pacifica Cultural Practice for the 8th Asian Pacific Triennial (APT8), Brisbane Australia

As part of the APT8 opening 'Live' performances at QAGOMA, Sunameke presented A'inaisa.

A'inaisa was a response to our Pasifika cultures being censored by a dominant cultural perspective.

Our cultural arts practices often being censored and deemed inappropriate for the public.

First published in the 'Esse' Journal - Article by Sarah Nesbitt

In November 2015, Rarotonga born, Aotearoa (New Zealand) based contemporary artist, Numangatini Fraser Mackenzie (Numa) posted a series of photos on Facebook accompanied by the provocative caption: “Sunameke sisters activating...Show[ing] how their culture is [...] censored by institutions and deemed inappropriate for the public. Even though you’re invited you still need to fit in the white box #‎apt8‬ #‎sunameke.‬”

The photos were Numa’s documentation of a performative intervention called A’inaisa. (a Mekeo word that roughly translates as “I am responsible for that,”) by the Papua New Guinean/Australian performance group Sunameke, under the direction of Julia Mage’au Gray.2 Performed in November 2015, at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), A’inaisa centred around a young Papua woman, Moale James, who is supported by Julia and seven other women, all members of Sunameke. The black geometric tattoos that covered Moale’s body and face; long vibrant red, white, and black beaded necklaces which draped over her bare chest; long multi-colored grass skirt; headpiece; and decorative arm and ankle bands distinguished her from the sterile gallery environment. In contrast, Julia and the seven women are minimally adorned, wearing black tank tops and skirts, carrying woven shoulder bags, and two strings of beads, which they hold in each hand.


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