Tanu Gago

YEAR OF RESIDENCY
May - August 2022

Tanu Gago is a queer activist, interdisciplinary artist, and award-winning photographer of Samoan heritage. Gago maintains a creative and social practice that spans over a decade, with much of his work examining Indigenous storytelling, cultural framing, decolonization, social politics, queer activism, and gender and sexually diverse narratives. Gago is the co-founder and creative director of FAFSWAG, a Pacific LGBT Arts Collective.
Under Gago’s direction, FAFSWAG have carved out credible cultural space within the contemporary art landscape in New Zealand, and have exhibited and performed internationally, including at the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Moku Pacific HQ, London; Emergency Gallery, Vevey Switzerland; Rotterdam International Film Festival; ImagineNATIVE, Toronto Canada; Asinabka Indigenous arts Festival, Ontario Canada; MGM Grand, Las Vegas; and in 2020 represented New Zealand at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney NIRIN. 

He is the recipient of the 2018 Creative New Zealand - Macmillan Brown Artist in residence at Canterbury University and was honoured in 2019 with a Queen's Order of Merit for services to the Pacific LGBTQI+ community. In 2020 along with FAFSWAG Arts Collective, Gago was the recipient of the 2020 Arts Foundation Laureate for interdisciplinary arts. He was also awarded the Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika - Contemporary Pacific Artist award.

Gago currently works in governance for the Love Life Fono Charitable Trust board, Creative New Zealand Arts & Advocacy Advisory Board, Auckland Council’s Pacific Arts and Culture Programme Board and works as an advisor for Pasifika Festival.