Angela Tiatia, Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis, 2010
born Auckland 1973; lives and works in Sydney
Angela Tiatia explores contemporary culture, drawing attention to its relationship to representation, gender, neo-colonialism and the commodification of the body and place, often through the lenses of history and popular culture. This work was inspired by a sonnet written by Mexican poet Enrique González Martinez in 1911 who implored his readers to reject the objectification of Pacific women in European modernism. In the film, the viewer is led through a lush environment of tropical greenery to find Tiatia, who holds a hibiscus flower in her mouth. The hibiscus is an icon of the Pacific that has been used to perpetuate false narratives about Pacific women. The action of Tiatia eating the hibiscus shows her overtly rejecting these Western constructs, smashing ideas of the exotic and sexualised Polynesian woman. Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis is unapologetic and empowering, as Tiatia takes back ownership of her body and the identity of the iconic hibiscus.
Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis 2010 colour digital video, 16:9, silent
1 min 31 sec
Collection of the artist, Sydney
Courtesy of the artist and Sullivan and Strumpf Gallery, Sydney