At the end of July, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki was thrilled to share its new publication, Declaration: A Pacific Feminist Agenda. Produced to accompany the exhibition and launched at the symposium, ‘Declaration: Setting the Agenda’, the publication amplifies a rallying call for the power of collective leadership, vision and radical hope in the Pacific.
Bringing together 12 prominent artists from across the Pacific, the exhibition Declaration: A Pacific Feminist Agenda proclaimed a Pacific feminist agenda in tackling some of the most pressing issues of our time: climate crisis, gender equality, Indigenous sovereignty and social justice. Featuring installation, performance, photography and moving image works, including major new commissions by Jasmine Togo-Brisby and Molly Rangiwai-McHale and Luisa Tora, the exhibition’s cross-pollination of voices affirmed the empowering power of collective action.
Bold, energetic and resounding, Declaration: A Pacific Feminist Agenda echoes the exhibition’s talanoa. Profiling each artwork in beautiful page spreads and replete with essays and poems by leading Pacific artists, poets, activists and cultural thinkers, the publication immerses readers in the exhibition’s rallying vision and spirit.
Declaration provides a provocative, multi-voiced challenge to the legacies of colonialism and suggests new directions for feminist thinking through a Pacific lens. Melding critical analysis with poetry and personal narratives, the publication reignites and nourishes dynamic kōrero about Pacific feminisms in the visual arts, shared histories, literature, cosmologies and everyday experiences. The distinguished contributors are: Phylesha Brown-Acton, Dr Emalani Case, Professor Selina Tusitala Marsh, Coco Solid, J C Sturm, Lisa Taouma, Dr Melenaite Taumoefolau, Associate Professor Teresia Teaiwa, Luisa Tora, Manuha‘apai Vaeatangitau, Dr Caroline Vercoe and Matariki Williams.
Ane Tonga, the book's editor and Curator, Pacific Art says,
Declaration: A Pacific Feminist Agenda offers new ways to think about feminism and its potential to be remapped into regenerative spaces and forms of solidarity. Taking a long view, the exhibition and publication create the first sustained exploration of Pacific feminisms. And while there have been many rewarding moments, it’s the mana-enhancing ability of this project to change hearts and minds that has stayed with me. It is best summarised in feedback from a woman who said, 'I had to bring my daughter to this show, it is very powerful and I want her to know the history of Pacific women in this country.
A must-have souvenir of a groundbreaking exhibition, Declaration is the first publication of its kind. It has been published by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki with generous support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
You can purchase the book in our shop at the Gallery and online.