‘Water: A rising tide’
Angela Tiatia filmed these videos in Tuvalu: a group of islands in the South Pacific that lie midway between Australia and Hawaii. On average, the archipelago sits less than two metres above sea level, and at its highest 4.6 metres, making it extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change. As sea-level rises accelerate, the ocean claims more land with each passing year.
In Holding On, the artist grips a concrete pier as waves wash against her body. Lying with her arms outstretched, she seems patient, ready to accept the will of the ocean. As time passes, the sun sets and the light slowly shifts.
Tuvalu offers a triptych of scenes from everyday life on Funafuti, the main atoll, as the inhabitants continue their daily activities despite the rising tide. For these people, climate change is not an abstract possibility but a daily reality. As the artist explains, ‘This work is a lament to what we are losing’.
Angela Tiatia / Aotearoa New Zealand/Samoa/Australia b.1973 / Holding On (still) 2015 / Single-channel high definition video; 16:9, colour, sound; 12:11 minutes / © Angela Tiatia / Courtesy: The artist and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney
Angela Tiatia / Aotearoa New Zealand/Samoa/Australia b.1973 / Tuvalu 2016 (Three-channel high definition video; 16:9, colour, sound; 20:32 minutes) and Holding On 2015 (Single-channel high definition video; 16:9, colour, sound; 12:11 minutes) installed for ‘Water’ at GOMA, February 2020 / © Angela Tiatia / Courtesy: The artist and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney / Photograph: Joe Ruckli, QAGOMA