Angela Tiatia

(Australia 21 Nov 1973 – )

Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis

Not on display
Further information

'Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis' explores the artist's Pacific heritage. In the video, a long tracking shot shows Tiatia emerging from tropical foliage with a hibiscus flower in her mouth, briefly embodying a stereotype of female passivity and natural abundance. Fixing her gaze forcefully on the camera, she then proceeds to ingest the flower, progressively revealing her face as a subject to be reckoned with beyond exoticising tropes. The work takes its cue from a 1911 sonnet by Enrique González Martinez, which called for South American writers to reject the idealising impulses of European modernism.

Tiatia applies its logic to a Pacific context, in which Polynesia continues to figure in the Western imaginary as a site of lush fecundity. She filmed the work in the Cook Islands within a failed resort development led by a multinational company, where the consequences of such misplaced desires on the local community are plainly manifest.

Time-based art
single channel digital video, colour, silent
duration: 0:01:31 mins, aspect ratio 16:9
Contemporary Collection Benefactors 2019
Accession number
© Angela Tiatia