Peter + William (2012) by Tanu Gago

Tanu Gago

Title: Peter + William
Date: 2012
Edition: Artist Proof
Series: Avanoa O Tama
Medium: Photographic Print on Archival Crystal Matte
Dimensions: 841x594mm

Artist Statement

As a Pacific Gay Male I have struggled over time to identify a clear distinction of Pacific masculinity I feel comfortable relating to. Searching for a cohesive sense of self and a recognizable sense of presence within the world we occupy, has lead me to this point in my artistic journey.

The Avanoa O Tama series presents a visual narrative that observes, critiques and articulates Pacific male identity in all its forms and with all its complexity, looking at the performance of our own unique perception of what it means to be a Pacific Male in the 21st century.


Born in Samoa and raised in Manukau City, Tanu Gago belongs to a large family with a diverse cultural background. Gago draws on his unique perspective and life in South Auckland to make art that directly engages with urban social issues including the fluid nature of ethnic and gender identities. Gago held his first solo exhibition, YOU LOVE MY FRESH at Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts in 2010 and later developed his first photographic series, Jerry the Fa’afafine (In The Manner of a Samoan Man) for Mana Takatāpui: Taera Tāne curated by Reuben Friend for City Gallery Wellington in 2011. His follow-up series, Avanoa O Tama was developed for a solo exhibition at Fresh Gallery Otara in South Auckland and went on to be shown as part of Home AKL at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki in 2012. Gago’s work features in private and public collections including Auckland Council, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and University of Auckland. He holds a Bachelor of Performing Arts majoring in Directing for Film & Television from Unitec.

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