Angela Tiatia

Aotearoa New Zealand / Australia / Samoa, b.1973


  • 2014
  • Single channel HD video 16:9, colour, sound 1 min 50 sec
  • Purchased 2021
  • 2021/162

First in high heels, then barefoot, artist Angela Tiatia repeats a movement performed in the traditional Siva Samoa dance. It’s an endurance exercise for her and us, reflecting the exhausting effort of meeting social and cultural expectations about how women should look and behave. By ensuring her malu (sacred female tattoo) remains visible, Angela challenges a Samoan taboo and critiques how society regards female Pasifika bodies.

The performance also has a more personal meaning. Angela’s mother supported her two daughters by sewing seams for garments to be shipped offshore. She hoped they would have an easier life, in office jobs where they could wear “nice high heels and a short skirt”. Angela’s own dream of being an artist was hard for her mother to accept.

(Perilous: Unheard Stories from the Collection, 6 August 2022- )

Exhibition History