Fakaētangata (2014-2016)

Edition of 5, 2 APs

Since 2008, Ane has been researching nifo koula – a form of Tongan body adornment where gold is melted onto the visible surface of teeth. For many recipients the procedure is carried out in the Kingdom of Tonga, using gold sourced from heirlooms such as wedding rings, which infuses gold teeth with layers of meaning and memory. This exhibition brings together two gendered bodies of work; Grills (2012-2014) which is centred on the experiences of women and the new series Fakaētangata (2014-2016) which delves into the experiences of men.

Showing for the first time in Aotearoa is the new ‘brother’ series Fakaētangata (2014-2016), which explores nifo koula within the notions of mana and fakaētangata (masculinity). The photographic series follows the journey of a young man acquiring a nifo koula in the Kingdom of Tonga, likening his surgical process to a rite of passage. Accompanying the photographs is a moving image work Tohoaki’i (to catch your attention) that captures men from Tonga discussing their views and outlook of nifo koula as a process of exchange, necessity and teuteu (decoration).

Exhibition History
The Devil's Blindspot, 19 November 2016 - 12 March 2017. Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu.
Ane Tonga: Men are from Maama, Women are from Pulotu, 1 April - 28 May 2016. Mangere Arts Centre Nga Tohu o Uenuku.
Pacifique(s) Contemporain, 4 November - 19 December 2015, Galerie 65 de l’ESADHaR, Le Havre, France.

Writing / Reviews
Caroline Vercoe - "Contemporary Maori and Pacific Artists Exploring Place," in Journal of New Zealand and Pacific Studies, Volume 5 Number 2, 2017.
Nina Tonga - "The Devil's Blindspot" in Bulletin 186, 2016.
Ron Brownson - In Conversation with Ane Tonga, as part of Men Are From Maama, Women are from Pulotu exhibition, 2016. (Audio Below)

John Hurrell, Examining Tongan Nifo Koula. Eye Contact. 2016.


Fakaētangata was produced with the generous assistance of The Chartwell Trust Collection funding.