Wansolwara: One Salt Water

SYDNEY

4A HAYMARKET

UNSW GALLERIES

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art will close our offices and galleries from Wednesday 18 to ensure the health and wellbeing of our staff, creatives, audiences and wider community. The original closing date for this exhibition has been brought forward. View the documentation of this exhibition below. 

Wansolwara: One Salt Water is a series of exhibitions, performances and events from across the Pacific and throughout the Great Ocean. Wansolwara – a pidgin word from the Solomon Islands meaning ‘one-salt-water’ or ‘one ocean, one people’ – reflects not a single ocean, but rather a connected waterscape that holds distinct and diverse cultures and communities. Through art, performance and conversation, the project celebrates the depth and diversity of contemporary visual and material culture throughout these regions, placing customary practices alongside contemporary articulations in art, writing and the moving image.

Unfolding across multiple sites over the summer of 2020, Wansolwara: One Salt Water profiles the creativity of the region through multidisciplinary forms. Artists Terry Faleona, Ruha Fifita, Rebecca Ann Hobbs, Shivanjani Lal, Paula Schaafhausen and Vaimaila Urale all present significant bodies of work that trace connections to the Pacific through language, tradition, dance and ceremony. Commissioned by 4A and UNSW Galleries, artist and curator Léuli Eshrāghi presents O le ūa na fua mai Manuʻa a focus within the exhibition that expands the Pacific from a geographical region to consider networks and exchange facilitated by the Great Ocean. The project brings fresh international perspectives to current endeavours to embody and awaken Indigenous sensual and spoken languages through works that focus on language, the body, gender, sex, desire and pleasure. It features works by asinnajaq, Sarah Biscarra Dilley, Sebastián Calfuqueo Aliste, Mariquita Davis, Amrita Hepi, Caroline Monnet, Faye Mullen, Shannon Te Ao, Angela Tiatia and Gutiŋarra Yunupiŋu.

4A and UNSW have also commissioned Troppo Galaktika, a Sydney-based collective to curate the third iteration of Club 4A focused on the continuing and contemporary cultures of the Pacific. This evening of food, parades and performances weaves its way from 4A to a karaoke club in Haymarket, animating the streets of Sydney with performances that occur outside the gallery and within the living, pulsating nightlife of the city.

Alongside the exhibition a series of academic modes of enquiry elucidate key themes of the project. Australian based early-career writers Mitiana Arbon, Winnie Dunn, Enoch Mailangi and Talia Smith have been commissioned to participate in the Wansolwara Writers Program. Their critical responses to the exhibition will be shared on FBi Radio, through podcasts and in a special edition of 4A’s biannual online journal the 4A Papers available in May 2020. A day-long symposium at UNSW Art & Design and series of public programs will further illustrate, through research, the depth and diversity of creativity from the region.

Creatives: Sebastián Calfuqueo Aliste, Mitiana Arbon, asinnajaq, Mariquita ‘Micki’ Davis, Sarah Biscarra Dilley, Winnie Dunn, Léuli Eshraghi, Terry Faleono, Ruha Fifita, Troppo Galaktika, Amrita Hepi, Rebecca Ann Hobbs, Shivanjani Lal, Enoch Mailangi, Caroline Monnet, Faye Mullen, Paula Schaafhausen, José Da Silva, Talia Smith, Mikala Tai, Shannon Te Ao, Angela Tiatia, Vaimaila Urale and Gutiŋarra Yunupiŋu.

Exhibiting artists at 4A: Terry Faleono, Rebecca Ann Hobbs, Paula Schaafhausen and Vaimaila Urale.

Wansolwara: One Salt Water is exhibited across both 4A (17 Jan – 29 Mar) and UNSW Galleries (17 Jan – 18 April).

Logos for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, UNSW Galleries, Sydney Festival and FBi Radio


As part of Wansolwara: One Salt Water, 4A presented a new installment of the Please Explain talks series. Please Explain: no one’s drowning, baby features artist Paula Schaafhausen, Guardian Australia Pacific Editor Kate Lyons and Professor John Church, pre-eminent expert in sea level rise, speaking to to the issue of climate change in this major Sydney Festival panel event moderated by Wesley Enoch.

Listen to the talk below.

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art · Please Explain: No one’s drowning, baby

Exhibition Documentation

240 black cards patterned with sand, tiled along two white gallery walls, with a stream of sand and a plastic lily on the floor in front

Back left:  Vaimaila Urale, Manamea ma Anivanuanua, 2020, black card and sand, 240 pieces across two walls, each wall installation measuring 5940x2520mm. Front right:  Terry Faleono, Sand, 2020, sand and plastic flower, dimensions variable. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy the artist.

240 black cards patterned with sand tiled on two white gallery walls

Vaimaila Urale, Manamea ma Anivanuanua, 2020, black card and sand, 240 pieces across two walls, each wall installation measuring 5940x2520mm. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy the artist.

Close-up of keyboard punctuation symbols shaped in sand on black card

Vaimaila Urale, Manamea ma Anivanuanua, 2020, black card and sand, 240 pieces across two walls, each wall installation measuring 5940x2520mm. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy the artist.

Close-up of a strip of sand patterned with a footprint, with a plastic pink flower lying on the side

Terry Faleono, Sand, 2020, sand and plastic flower, dimensions variable. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy the artist.

Twelve small Polynesian figurines made from coconut oil and ocean debris, standing in a circle on a white platform

Paula Schaafhausen, Ebbing Tagaloa, 2020, coconut oil, found objects from Sydney, dimensions variable. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy the artist.

A circle of small Polynesian figurines made from coconut oil and ocean debris

Paula Schaafhausen, Ebbing Tagaloa, 2020, coconut oil, found objects from Sydney, dimensions variable. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy the artist.

Close-up of the face of a sculpture modelled after a Polynesian God, made from coconut oil an debris

Paula Schaafhausen, Ebbing Tagaloa, 2020, coconut oil, found objects from Sydney, dimensions variable. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy the artist.

A circle of small Polynesian figurines made from coconut oil and debris, with a wall mural made from 240 black cards decorated with sand behind

Front:  Paula Schaafhausen, Ebbing Tagaloa, 2020, coconut oil, found objects from Sydney, dimensions variable. Back:  Vaimaila Urale, Manamea ma Anivanuanua, 2020, black card and sand, 240 pieces across two walls, each wall installation measuring 5940x2520mm. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy the artist.

Three gallery windows filter sunlight onto melted coconut oil on a white platform

Paula Schaafhausen, Ebbing Tagaloa, 2020, coconut oil, found objects from Sydney, dimensions variable. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy the artist.

Close-up of some mounds of coconut oil with a bird feather and some leaves and found objects

Paula Schaafhausen, Ebbing Tagaloa, 2020, coconut oil, found objects from Sydney, dimensions variable. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy the artist.

Image of a screen projected with a video of a woman in a matching crop top and pants dancing outside a closed shop front named 'The Polynesian Clothing Warehouse Co'

Rebecca Ann Hobbs in collaboration with the dancer Amelia Lynch, Ōtara at Night, 2011, 2:00 HD video. Soundtrack: Limb By Limb, by Cutty Ranks, on Reggae Anthology. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy the artist.

A video of a dancing woman in a matching crop top and pants projected onto a screen set up in front of metal benches

Rebecca Ann Hobbs in collaboration with the dancer Amelia Lynch, Ōtara at Night, 2011, 2:00 HD video. Soundtrack: Limb By Limb, by Cutty Ranks, on Reggae Anthology. Photo: Kai Wasikowski for 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy the artist.