Born 1972 Sydney, Australia
Lives and works in
In Tongan culture, ‘Punake’ is a term used to describe artists who compose poetry and songs and choreograph them for performance. The word comes from puna (to fly) and hake (on high). Latai Taumoepeau is a contemporary Punake — a body-centred performance artist whose powerful artistic practice tells the stories of her homelands, the Island Kingdom of Tonga, and her birthplace of the Eora Nation, Sydney. Working in durational performance and documenting it through photographs, she addresses issues of race, class and the female body. In her recent practice, Taumoepeau explores the effects of climate change in the Pacific, probing existing power structures and the looming possibility of dispossession that many island communities face.