Basement Theatre Studio, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

14/02/2017 - 17/02/2017

Auckland Pride Festival 2017

Production Details

FAFSWAG Arts Collective brings the vision of artist Akashi Fisiinaua to the stage, presenting FEMSLICK, a series of vignettes set against underground Vogue Culture in Auckland.  Flexing urgency and vitality, this world is dripping in body politics, culture vultures, urban aesthetics and lots of Banji realness.

Told through movement, soundscape and urban material culture, this devised work scrutinises redundant gender norms and tired cultural codes with vivid and timely responses that pull no punches. Unpacking the complexities of queer brown bodies as they navigate cultural and social space in real time.

Synced to the rhythmic pulse of a Vogue ball this work connects its audience directly into its advocacy of self-defence, self-love and self-preservation. Don’t expect to remain sedated and docile like passive voyeurs. It’s not that kind of party. FEMSLICK stays f*cking up the patriarchy, one Caucasian space at a time.

Produced by FAFSWAG Arts Collective and funded by Creative New Zealand. Featuring Cypris Afakasi, Falencie Filipo, Akashi Fisiinaua, Gabriel Halatoa, Moe Laga, Jaydess Nand, Jacob Temata, Jaycee Tanuvasa.

Direction by Akashi Fisiinaua and styling by Jasper Powell.

It’ll be a short season so be sure to get in and hook it up with tix before they all go missing and you’re left with some flat face emoji’s. 

14 – 17 February at 6.30pm, Basement Studio

Tickets $18/$20

Bookings: https://www.iticket.co.nz/events/2017/feb/femslick

18+ show, contains mature content and strobe lighting




Featuring Cypris Afakasi, Falencie Filipo, Akashi Fisiinaua, Gabriel Halatoa, Moe Laga, Jaydess Nand, Jacob Temata, Jaycee Tanuvasa.

Theatre , Performance Art , Dance-theatre ,

50 mins

Sensitive and empowered LGBT Pacific stories

Review by val smith 16th Feb 2017

The night before last, I dreamt that Falencie Filipo was the Head of a new tertiary arts institution in Auckland that was structured from the ground up, based in indigenous principles and a contemporary Pacific vision for the future.  I talked to Falencie in this dream about the school’s philosophies, and then sat in the school library reading articles and perusing documentation about the histories of local queer brown artists and culture makers who were also the tutors and leaders of this school.  As I read more and more, my understanding of the significance of what Falencie had said to me, and was modeling to students, expanded.  Her words were stunningly astute and observant, metaphoric, yet pragmatic and personal.  The thinking behind this school, I thought, was so very necessary for enabling a shift towards the unpacking and re-purposing of colonization and patriarchal structures in this country, and also for the celebration of Pacific cultures and spaces that uphold indigenous knowledge, queer bodies, and the multiplicity of minority voices across intersections of politics.

I woke up feeling uplifted and inspired.

Last night, after the Femslick show had finished, I witnessed Tanu Gago, the founder of FAFSWAG Arts Collective, quietly packing down the production and shifting things around the Basement’s loft studio space for the next show.  I spoke with Tanu for a short time, and was moved by his spirit of generosity and care.  He exudes a sense of clarity and grounded soft presence.  Thoughtfully attending to my questions, he also spoke about the intentions for Femslick and other upcoming FAFSWAG productions.  This brief encounter with Gago added another level to my experience of Femslick, and my understanding of the FAFSWAG Arts Collective and the impact of the work being made by this community of powerful artists. 

I woke up again feeling uplifted and inspired.

Femslick extends on the long-term vision of FAFSWAG for cultural restoration of LGBTQI Pacific identities, and their consistent promotion of queer people of colour online and in contemporary Pacific arts.  If you don’t yet know, FAFSWAG is a prolific collective of queer Pacific artists living in South Auckland. Built on the back of FAFSWAG’s Vogue balls at Te Puke Otara Community hall and K Rd’s Family Bar, Femslick continues to develop awareness of issues for queer Pacific identities in NZ such as Fa’afafine, Fakaleiti, Fafine, Akavaine, Mahu and Takataapui.  The Vogue balls bring these communities together and provide a much needed platform for expression and for engaging in an artistic conversation that boldly rethinks gender and sexuality, topics commonly taboo within Pacific cultures.

Artist/Director Akashi Fisiinaua MCs the show from the margins of the performance arena, carrying the flow of Femslick with precision and energy.  Encompassed by the audience, solo, duet and group vignettes performed by the rest of this collective move fluidly into and out of the floor.  As audience/participants, we become integral to the delivery of the work, encouraged to cycle the energy shared by performers back into the space and each other. 

“f*cking up the patriarchy, one caucasian space at a time”

Challenging outdated colonial ideas that continue to oppress queer people of colour, the nuance of Femslick’s personal stories and experiences is upheld by great scripting, timing and acting.  Standout performers for me are Mistress and Duchess, who intensify the environment with a duet conjured from movement and witchy energies swirling around the room. They absorb us into a magnetising ritual space with potent kundalini shiftings and summoning actions as a Sina/Hina/Hinenui-te-pō spell (my own interpretation).

Femslick’s sharing of sensitive AND empowered LGBT Pacific stories is filled with emotional investment, honesty, aroha and manaakitanga.  And it is these qualities that I see to be backing and igniting the notable buzz in Auckland around FAFSWAG and their work.  Femslick’s contribution of expressions of queer Pacific femininities to Auckland’s PRIDE 2017, addresses big issues of tokenism and exclusion within this festival, and within LGBTQI spaces generally.   In particular, the positive force of this work is in how Pacific trans women are framed as self-determined and determining, taking hold of their destinies with vitality and confidence, thereby creating safe space and support for future generations of Pacific trans women and other LGBQI people of colour to carve out their own pathways.

Femslick features Cypris Afakasi, Falencie Filipo, Akashi Fisiinaua, Gabriel Halatoa, Moe Laga, Jaydess Nand, Jacob Temata, Jaycee Tanuvasa, with styling by Jasper Powell.



NB: Other FAFSWAG projects for Pride Festival: #prolific #generative #impressive #FAFSWAG:
Femslick Vogue ball at Family bar, Sat 18th Feb, 8pm
Make Space: The Visibility Project – Feb 21-24th, various locations
Moreinfo: article: 
 “Fafswag: The artists telling queer stories”, by Jeremy Olds, August 9th 2015 www.stuff.co.nz Retrieved from: http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/arts/70898666/fafswag-the-artists-telling-queer-pacific-stories


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