Curated by Torika Bolatagici

Presented by Metro Arts

This ambitious new work invites you to consider the body as an archive, and how embodied frequencies, cadences, and densities guide our movement through neo-colonial spaces.

The Community Reading Room, as an ongoing discursive project, has always sought to problematize the notion of the archive through embodied performance, collective knowledge sharing and co-curated reading and writing activities. Volume features new commissioned work by nine multidisciplinary First Nations, Black, global Indigenous artists and invites us to consider the body as an archive and how these embodied frequencies, cadences, and densities guide our movement through neo-colonial spaces.

In the words of Julietta Singh, “the body archive is an attunement, a hopeful gathering, an act of love against the foreclosures of reason. It is a way of knowing the body-self as a becoming and unbecoming thing, of scrambling time and matter, of turning toward rather than against oneself.”

Please note: In line with Queensland Health regulations, all patrons and visitors at Metro Arts will be required to be fully vaccinated. Proof must be presented on entry to venue staff. Find out more here.


 Sat 12 Feb – Sat 5 Mar


Gallery One, Gallery Two and Window Gallery
Metro Arts, West End

Image Credit: Digital_Quilt (detail) by Denise Chapman, 2021.


Denise Chapman
Denise Chapman is a counternarrative storyteller, spoken word poet, and critical autoethnographer who lectures in children’s literature / early literacy at Monash University. She has served as a literacy specialist focused on critical media literacy in Australia, Fiji, and the United States. Denise uses oral stories, children’s literature, poetry, and digital images as counternarrative windows for liberation. She is currently
exploring the lack of diverse transmedia stories for children and how this impacts children’s imagined possibilities.

Shivanjani Lal
Shivanjani Lal is a twice-removed Fijian-Indian-Australian artist and curator. As an artist living in Australia, she is tied to a long history of familial movement; her work uses personal grief to account for ancestral loss and trauma. She is a member of the indentured labourer diaspora from the Indian and Pacific oceans. She employs intimate images of family, sourced from photo albums, along with video and images from contemporary travels to the Asia-Pacific to reconstruct temporary landscapes. These landscapes act as shifting sites for diasporic healing – from which she emerges. A fundamental concern in the work is how art develops and represents culture as it transitions between contexts, while also probing the experiences of women in these situations of flux.

Emele Ugavule
Emele is of Tokelauan and Fijian descent. She is a multidisciplinary storyteller. Emele works across live performance, film, tv & digital media as a writer, director, producer, performer, educator and mentor. Her work explores creative processes and outcomes grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing, and nurturing the vā where where embodiment, cultural expression, digitisation and neuroscience intersect.

Ema Tavola
Ema (Dravuni – Fiji, Pākehā) is an artist-curator which she says mostly involved her being an arts manager, advocate and hype woman of Moana Oceania arts and culture. She is the Director of Vunilagi Vou, an independent exhibitions gallery and consultancy in South Auckland. She is also a māmā to her daughter, Lanuola. Recent curatorial projects include; A Maternal Lens (2018) for the 4th International Biennial of Casablanca (Morocco); Dravuni: Sivia yani na Vunilagi – Beyond the Horizon (2016/2018) for the New Zealand Maritime Museum and Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific (Fiji); Kaitani (2017) for The Physics Room (New Zealand).

Kelly Ka-Lai Chan
Kelly Ka-Lai Chan is a video ethnographer and educator who makes videos to tell stories about humans and more-than-humans. Kelly was a lecturer at Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts & Hong Kong Art School before joining RMIT School of Education for her PhD study on using visual methods to explore subjectivities of artist-activists in Hong Kong.

Jane Chang Mi
As an artist and ocean engineer, Jane Chang Mi assesses the post-colonial ocean environment through interdisciplinary research. She examines the narratives associated with the underwater landscape considering the past, present, and future. Mi most often focuses on the occupation and militarization of the Pacific Ocean by the United States. This interest emerges from her background as an ocean engineer, a
field that is inextricably linked to the American military complex. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, most recently at Te Uru Waitakere and ST Paul Street Gallery in Aotearoa (New Zealand) in 2019. She has been a scientist at the Arctic Circle Program (2010), a recipient of the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts grant (2014), and a fellow at the East West Center at the University of Hawaii, Manoa (2012).

Laniyuk was born of a French mother and a Larrakia, Kungarrakan and Gurindji father. Her poetry and short memoir often reflects the intersectionality of her cross cultural and queer identity. She was fortunate enough to contribute to the book Colouring the Rainbow: Blak Queer and Trans Perspectives as well as winning the Indigenous residency for Canberra’s Noted Writers Festival 2017. Laniyuk received Overland’s Writers Residency for 2018 as well as being shortlisted for Overland’s 2018 Nakata-Brophy poetry prize.

Stéphanie Kabanyana Kanyandekwe
Stéphanie Kabanyana Kanyandekwe is a Rwandan-British composer and multidisciplinary artist. Through her viewpoint as a synaesthetic “third-culture kid,” her research-based arts practice investigates the construction and archiving of culture through transcription into visual languages. Stéphanie uses music and performance practice to articulate these languages in a tangible, storytelling format, which enables cultural context to remain and be respected. Stéphanie is a presenter on ABC Classic radio program Passenger.

Lia Pa’apa’a
Lia Pa’apa’a is an artist whose ancestors hail from Samoa and the Luiseño nation of Southern California. Born and raised in Australia, Lia is committed to delivering innovative arts and cultural programming that support BIPOC communities. Lia is an artist Creative Producer and Community Arts Cultural Development practitioner working across art forms. Lia is developing her practice with a focus on ancestral arts and cultural practices that support mothers during the first 1000 days.


We take the safety of our patrons, staff and artists seriously. Metro Arts is operating in line with current Queensland Government guidelines and restrictions. If you are unwell, please refrain from attending events at Metro Arts. Maintaining physical distancing requirements is expected and is the individual’s responsibility. Click here for more information.