Latai Taumoepeau is a Punake, body-centred performance artist; her story is of her homelands, the Island Kingdom of Tonga and her birthplace; the Eora Nation – Sydney, and everything far and in-between. She mimicked, trained and un-learned dance, in multiple institutions of knowledge, starting with her village, a suburban church hall, nightclubs and a university.
Latai activates Indigenous philosophies and methodologies; cross-polinating ancient practices of ceremony with her contemporary processes & performance work to re- interpret, re-generate and extend her movement practice and its function in and from Oceania. She engages in the socio-political landscape of Australia with sensibilities in race, class & the female body politic; committed to bringing the voice of marginalised communities to the frangipani-less fore ground.
Latai has presented works and performed in The Sydney Festival, Perth Festival,Tanz Im August (Berlin), Dance Massive, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Carriageworks, The Performance Space, Sydney Opera House, Artshouse, Blacktown Arts Centre, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, The Australian Museum, 4A centre of Asian Contemporary Art, PACT, Brisbane Powerhouse, Woodford Folk Festival, Sydney Fringe Festival to name a few. She has also toured internationally to London, Germany, France, Japan, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Slovenia, Cook Islands and New Zealand.
Latai is also involved in climate change advocacy for Pacific island nations through various engagement projects. She is currently working on five year project titled ‘Refuge’ an extensive artist led exercise in community preparedness in emergency disaster management. Additional to Latai’s artistic practice, she has also worked for Playwriting Australia, facilitating an introduction to play writing program for communities and schools of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
She was also the projects worker at Radio Skid Row, a community radio station in the inner west of Sydney, engaging with communities in creative digital media projects that are under-represented in mainstream media. Projects include: ‘Hearing Voices’ RadioPLAYS, ‘Radio Ornaments’ (LGBTIQ special), ‘Not Another Digital Storytelling Project’, Refugee lullaby project and Sweatshops ‘3 Jerks’ broadcast.
Latai Taumoepeau was awarded the Fbi SMAC ‘Best Artist’ award 2016, and the Pacific Communities Council ‘Environment’ award 2015.