Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington
Gate 3, Kelburn Parade
Wellington 6140
New Zealand

Legacies: Five Short Artist Films

Edith Amituanai

Martin Sagadin

Ukrit Sa-nguanhai

Pati Tyrell

Sriwhana Spong

Curated by May Adadol Ingawanij, commissioned and toured by CIRCUIT Artist Moving Image

12 May 30 June 2023

What does a legacy taste, smell, sound, feel, or look like?

Legacies features five short artist films for cinema commissioned by CIRCUIT Artist Moving Image and curated by Thai/UK curator and film scholar Dr May Adadol Ingawanij. The project developed from a series of propositions put to the artists by CIRCUIT curator-at-large Ingawanij about the potential meaning and resonance of the term ‘legacies.’ She writes:

"Legacies are that which we carry, sometimes with pride and sometimes with shame, as the basis of social bonding, whether as things a people embodies with pride or as an enduring pain, a burden, some kind of ghost.

Legacies as: the pre-modern artistic, cultural, linguistic and religious heritages of the place and land that you were born into and raised in; the legacies of colonisation, and the spectres of nations and nationalisms, during and after colonialism, and their continuing shaping force; the legacies of the modern art/film histories, narratives, and ways of knowing that shaped you, and that bring an ambivalence and a desire to undo."

Each artist was invited to make a short film which attempted to articulate the artist’s personal response to the concept. The results are inevitably various: a portrait of a young Pasifika matriarch (Edith Amituanai); a reflection on the cinematic history of Thailand (Ukrit Sa-nguanhai); an artist sculpting clay in their studio (Martin Sagadin); an animation based on a Balinese painting made by the artists grandfather (Sriwhana Spong), and a vivid interpretation of Samoan funeral chants and speeches (Pati Tyrell).

Legacies is CIRCUIT’s seventh annual programme of Artist Cinema Commissions. It has been presented at Artspace Aotearoa, Auckland; Ashburton Gallery, Ashburton, and is touring extensively overseas, to the USA, Germany, United Kingdom, Singapore and Thailand.

The exhibition is accompanied by The Legacies Reader, a publication edited by Thomasin Sleigh, which features contributions from the artists, as well as writings by Huni Mancini, Tina Makereti, and more.

May Adadol Ingawanij is a Thai/UK curator and film scholar based at the University of Westminster in London. Her research explores histories and genealogies outside the dominant histories of the cinematic arts; particularly avant-garde practice in Southeast Asia. She was one of CIRCUIT’s 2022 curators-at-large.

Edith Amituanai lives in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. In 2005 she completed a Bachelor of Design (majoring in photography) at Unitec Institute of Technology, before completing a Master of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland in 2009. In 2007, Amituanai was the first recipient of the Art Foundation’s Marti Friedlander Photographic Award. The following year she was nominated for the Walters Prize at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. She has exhibited extensively in galleries and museums across Aotearoa and internationally in Australia, Austria, Taiwan, Germany, and France. Te Pātaka Toi Adam Art Gallery staged Double Take, her first substantial survey exhibition curated by Ane Tonga, in 2019. Her works are held in public collections including Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki; Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery.

Martin Sagadin is a Slovenian-born, New Zealand-based non-binary filmmaker and artist. In 2018 they finished a Master of Fine Arts with a focus on directing and writing at the University of Canterbury. He lives and works in New Zealand as a freelance writer and director making music videos and feature films.

Ukrit Sa-nguanhai is a Thai video artist and filmmaker who lives and works in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Thailand. Recently, he has been interested in the aesthetics of amateur film, local film history, and collaborative works with local people.

Pati Tyrell is a Samoan interdisciplinary artist with a strong focus on performance. He uses lens-based media to create visual material centred around ideas of urban Pasifika queer identity. He has shown work at Museum of Contemporary Arts, Sydney; International Photography Festival, Pingyao; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and was a 2018 Walters Prize nominee. Tyrell is a co-founder of the queer Pasifika arts collective FAFSWAG, who in 2020 received an Arts Foundation Laureate, and in 2022 showed at documenta 15 in Kassel, Germany.

Sriwhana Spong is an artist from Aotearoa New Zealand, living in London. Spong produces scripts of her body that document in various mediums the oscillations of distance and intimacy produced by an approach toward another – most recently, a rat nesting outside her window; a newly discovered species of snake; a painting by her grandfather, the Balinese painter, I Gusti Made Rundu; and a twelfth-century Javanese poem. Recent exhibitions include Live Art Commissions, The Roberts Institute of Art, London (2022); The 10th Walters Prize, Auckland Art Gallery (2021); Trust and Confusion, Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong (2021); Honestly Speaking, Auckland Art Gallery (2020); castle-crystal, Edinburgh Arts Festival (2019); and Ida-Ida, Spike Island, Bristol (2019). In 2022, Spong contributed a new work to the Istanbul Biennale and in March 2023 she presented a solo project, Luzpomphia at Michael Lett, Auckland.