Tino Manaia

tino manaia (2016)

2 minutes, 17 seconds

Two-channel High Definition video

16:9, colour, sound

Tino manaia, ‘good body’ in gagana Sāmoa, is a comment on the brown Indigenous body as exotic/erotic other within a capitalist Christianised contemporary culture. The artist depicts himself naked, vulnerable yet strong, looking back at the viewer, challenging the self-policing, shaming and invisibility of non-Anglo-Celtic bodies, genders and sexualities. The brown body is painted a luminescent gold. Gold here acts as a signifier of golden showers, sacred cumlines, received and enacted genealogies.

It can also be seen as clothing in referencing the pe‘a, customary Sāmoan men’s tattoo marking responsibility and family honour. The pe‘a covers the thighs, buttocks, hips, and lower back. Naked and clothed then, the Indigenous body is both sacred and everyday, finding a way of breaching contemporary taboos to really locate the urgency of wellbeing in bodies. Depicted on two adjacent screens, the visions of the artist’s back and front render the nude Indigenous body as an entity that cannot easily be consumed, its spirit defiant but open.

This work was produced during the 2016 Indigenous Visual + Digital Arts Residency, supported by the RBC Emerging Artist Award at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, in Blackfoot, Stoney Nakota and Tsuu T’ina territories in Canada.


Midsumma Australia Post Art Prize: New World

20 January-4 February 2017, Midsumma Festival, Fort Delta, Narrm Melbourne

THE BILL: For Collective Unconscious, curated by Misal Adnan Yıldız

12 March-22 April 2016, Artspace NZ, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland


Dead Centre, curated by Anna Louise Richardson and Abdul-Rahman Abdullah

23 September-1 October 2016, Spectrum Project Space, Edith Cowan University, Boorloo Perth

30 November 2016-14 January 2017, Alcoa Mandurah Art Gallery 

27 January-11 March 2018, Goldfields Arts Centre, Kalgoorlie

20 April-17 June 2018, Geraldton Regional Art Gallery

15 August-28 September 2018, Beach Street Gallery, Fremantle

1 December 2018-3 March 2019, Bunbury Regional Art Gallery

21 May-24 May 2019, Subiaco Arts Centre

21 June-20 July 2019, Katanning Gallery