Pacific Sisters - Fashioning Assembly Aotearoa
Pacific Sisters is an art collective of fashion activists that embrace their Māori, Pacific and Queer identities unique to Aotearoa NZ.
Formed in the early 90s, their groundbreaking work weaves Moana based heritage art and cultural practices into contemporary multi-disciplinary art forms, a practice which has been instrumental in highlighting the urban style of a New Zealand-born Pacific generation.
Natural and industrial materials; new, found, salvaged or repurposed, are handmade and used for the communal making of one-off dress and adornment. Either for themselves or in embodying gender-fluid NIU AITU (ancestral beings) created to be worn and to be shared with an audience through storytelling and ritual. The three aitu ‘Mururoa’, ‘Super Suga’, and ‘TOHU TūPUNA’, in the video, Ē TU // PS \\ AITU, encapsulate longstanding and fundamental messages that are important to Pacific Sisters: protecting the environment, indigenous sovereignty, freedom of self-expression, encouraging the best from humanity, and being your own superhero. Originally conceived to stand together in Auckland Museum, they are now displayed one at a time, separated by time and space. In response, the Pacific Sisters created this short film with the aim of holding their mana as a group of three intact.
A sense of fun permeates the Pacific Sisters shared creative processes of making, but it is in their playful and self-determining use of language that their humour emerges for a wider audience. Accessification is a term devised to describe their process of layering themselves in taonga/ measina/ dress and adornment, body painting, oiling and grooming that is readied for presentation. Sharing, cooperation, and collaboration are essential to the Pacific Sisters' story.
Pacific Sisters Ani O'Neill and Feeonaa Clifton were joined in conversation with Doris de Pont, as well as hosting a workshop teaching attendees how to make fluffies, a type of adornment which features frequently in their works.
Find out more about Pacific Sisters by heading to our related story, or following them @pacificsisters on Instagram.
Fashioning Assembly Aotearoa was supported by the City Centre targeted rate.
Global Fashioning Assembly 2022 was supported by the Creative Industries fund NL.