AGSA is delighted to partner with Illuminate Adelaide to present Angela Tiatia’s major work, The Pearl, during City Lights.

Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Angela Tiatia is a Sāmoan Australian artist who often draws on her Polynesian heritage to create her vivid moving image works.

The Pearl is an opulent digital video which reimagines the Roman myth of the birth of Venus, rising from the sea in a clamshell, through the story of the Pacific creator god Ta’aroa, also born in a shell.

Tiatia uses vibrant, high-resolution computer-generated imagery as a potent form of storytelling through a twenty-first century feminist gaze. Images of a hibiscus flower, bright pink clamshells, glistening pearls and cascading water give way to a bountiful ceremony in an ancient marae.

The artist describes The Pearl as a ‘digital tapa’, a contemporary version of Polynesian ceremonial patterned bark cloth. Tiatia takes a Western symbol of beauty and transforms it into a vision of Polynesian female power.

The Pearl was originally commissioned by the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 2021.