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Pacific Sisters: He Toa Taera | Fashion Activists

Paying homage to the designers, artists and performers that brought women-led Pasifika designs to the fore.
By Laetitia Laubscher
April 09, 2019
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Pacific Sisters: He Toa Taera | Fashion Activists

Paying homage to the designers, artists and performers that brought women-led Pasifika designs to the fore.
By Laetitia Laubscher
April 09, 2019
  shares

Auckland Art Gallery's Pacific Sisters: He Toa Taera | Fashion Activists is a new retrospective exhibition that pays homage to the 1990s designers, artists and performers that brought women-led Pasifika designs to the fore.

The exhibition highlights the innovative costumes and performances created by the Pacific Sisters collective over the last three decades — projects which evolved from street style in their early days into multi-faceted, multidimensional experiences in locations like nightclubs and art galleries.

The Pacific Sisters have been creating art and fashion experiences for over 27 years, working to overturn stereotypes about Pacific culture as well as celebrating Pacific arts, women and cultural heritage. Auckland Art Gallery's Head of Curatorial and Exhibitions Sarah Farrar said that the exhibition "highlights the collective's daring creativity, ground-breaking fashion and activist spirit."

Pacific Sisters was founded in 1991 by Selina Haami, Suzanne Tamaki and Nephi Tupaea, with core members including Lisa Reihana, Rosanna Raymond, Ani O'Neill, Feeonaa Wall and Jaunnie 'Ilolahia. The collective continue to work on pushing the envelope in Pasifika design, but the retrospective is a nice moment to pay homage to how far they've come. Pacific Sister and artist Feeonaa Wall said, "Auckland is Pacific Sisters' original base, where we met, grew organically and thrived. This is like a homecoming for us, and we can't wait to share these works and our history in the city where it all began."

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