Past Event

Workshop & talanoa with ′Uhila Tu′ipulotu Nai

Tūrei 23 Ākuhata

Tuesday 23 August


16 Dowling Street

Image of Tapa cloths with orange pigment

Join us Tuesday 23 August from 5–6pm for a workshop and talanoa with ′Uhila Tu’ipulotu Nai. 

′Uhila will introduce her project, Fepotalanoa′aki pea mo ′eku fanga kui: In conversation with my great-great-great-grannies, and discuss the making process before inviting participants to use the kupesi stencils in the exhibition. 

′Uhila Nai’s exhibition Fepotalanoa′aki pea mo ′eku fanga kui: In conversation with my great-great-great-grannies presents a series of works which utilise the visual language of ancient Tonga and today’s lea Faka-Tonga to explore the tala tukufakaholo about the elder women in her family and the continuations of their craft of nimamea′a koka′anga (ngatu making). 

Nai draws on relationships between people and materials to share and continue the art of hou′eiki fafine (formal term for elder women) through traditional materials used in the making, kafa (sennit) and contemporary materials, like vylene paper, which are adapted for the same purpose. The role of materials, such as hiapo (mulberry paper) and la′i kaka (fibrous integuments that wrap around a young coconut leaf) in transmitting knowledge is central to the writing of cultural histories and also to relations between people and materials, showing how makers have collectively embedded their knowledge through hours spent making.

Tea, coffee, and snacks will be provided. 

Numbers are limited so please register via email to

Video originally posted by Depot Artspace.Interviewed in her studio at AUT where ‘Uhila is currently undertaking her PHD studies.Interviewer & Video: Diana HuInstagram: @dianamite7 

Video originally posted by Depot Artspace.

Interviewed in her studio at AUT where ‘Uhila is currently undertaking her PHD studies.

Interviewer & Video: Diana Hu
Instagram: @dianamite7 

′Uhila Tu′ipulotu Nai

′Uhila Tu'ipulotu Nai is a Tongan New Zealand-born artist who emigrated to Tonga with her Nena, ′Ana va′inga Nai in 1999. Nai is from the village of Pelehake and genealogically connected to the village of Tatakamotonga, Fua′amotu and the island Foa and Nomuka in Ha′apai. Her influence and inspiration for her practice comes from a young kid who grew up watching her Nena making one of Tongan koloa tu′ufonua ′oku ′iloa ko e ngatu mo hono kupesi (collection of women’s wealth known as ngatu with its own kupesi collection). Nai’s practice draws on the concepts of unfolding kupesi forms and learning about their individual characteristics, and also the processes and methods used in the making. With the idea of finding ways to generate a new space that has the potential to allow the work to speak on its own terms without having to fit within a contemporary Western art framework.