Art. Research. Community.
“What strikes one about Bolatagici’s work as an artist, and as an emerging and highly engaged Pacific voice in art world academia, is her take on the big picture…[i]n drawing out the focus of her work and undermining the seamless layers of commodification, Bolatagici humanises and subverts the bigger stage of war, global capitalism and racism. It is fundamentally the value and nature of ‘our air’, ‘our water’ and ‘our’ thinking that she brings to light.” Maurice O’Riodran, ‘Torika Bolatagici and the Big Picture’, Art Monthly Australia, #232, August 2010, p.67.
Dr Torika Bolatagici is a multidisciplinary artist and academic whose practice focuses on the centering of black and brown lived-experience and the relationships between visual culture, human ecologies and contemporary indigenous counter-narrative.
She is interested in exploring the tensions and intersections between gender, embodied knowledge, commodification, migration and globalization.
Torika's work has been exhibited in New York, San Francisco, Mexico City, Yogyakarta and throughout Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. She has published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at local and international conferences on the representation of mixed-race identity; Pacific arts practice in Australia and Fiji and gender and militarism in the Pacific.
In her role as Symposium coordinator for the Contemporary Pacific Arts Festival in 2013 and 2014, Torika curated multiple panels to extend the discourse around contemporary Pacific arts practice in Australia and invited speakers to reflect on themes such as art and activism, museums, collecting and curating, cultural appropriation and contemporary practice. She also produced the symposium publication Mana Motu (2013 and 2014).
In addition to her own practice, Torika also produces socially-engaged projects such as the Pacific Photobook Project and the Community Reading Room which foster life-affirming spaces for creative communities of colour.
The Community Reading Room is a pop-up destination for research, community discussion and engagement around international visual arts and culture, with a particular focus on contemporary art and theory from Oceania, Africa and the Americas. The Community Reading Room has appeared at Colour Box Studio (2013), Footscray Community Arts Centre (2014), Testing Grounds (2017) and Arts House (2017).
Torika is a lecturer in Art and Performance in the School of Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University, and the Course Director of the Photography Degree. She has a PhD from the School of Art and Design, University of New South Wales on the topic 'Somatic Sotia: Commodity, Agency and the Fijian Military Body.'