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The Soul Expanding Ocean #1

Taloi Havini  — 

TBA21–Academy presents a solo exhibition dedicated to the artist Taloi Havini, opening on March 22, 2021. The exhibition is part of a two-year curatorial cycle entitled The Soul Expanding Ocean by Ocean Space’s 2021 and 2022 curator Chus Martínez.

Taloi Havini was born in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, in the South West Pacific Ocean. Currently based in Australia, her work takes on many forms, including sculpture, film, photography, and immersive audio-video installations. A central element to her work are the human actions that occur over time and space. In all mediums, her practice perpetuates the desires for Indigenous Knowledge Systems to undermine the persistent colonial structures that aimed to annihilate them. She delves deeply into themes of representation, inheritance, habitats, and epistemologies of Oceania.

In November and December 2020, Havini was a resident of Schmidt Ocean Institute's Artist-At-Sea program, observing the mapping of the Great Barrier Reef with state of the art technology on the R/V Falkor. Current global ambitions to map the world's seafloor by 2030 are gaining momentum. This process uses multibeam sonar systems that produce never seen before high-resolution cartography. Representation of habitat in this form is considered mark-making - and it is a western scientific race for knowledge as seen by the artist. In response, Havini researches how sound and other senses are used beyond western science as tools for measuring space. The intention is to reveal diverse narratives from non-European cultures, asking audiences to attune the senses and reconsider current knowledge of the oceans.

The commission for Ocean Space forms part of Havini’s largest solo exhibition in Europe to date. Created under conditions of restricted travel imposed by Covid-19, preparing the exhibition required a fresh imagination of distance and presence. Responding to this, the new work Havini creates specifically for Ocean Space in Venice aims to revitalize and give presence to a multitude of experiences in a space-time continuum amidst intersecting trajectories, pastimes, and lessons in deep-time listening.

The ways in which societies approach the ‘ocean’ is an expression of the value given to life itself. Utilizing sound and other sensory mediums, Havini asks the audience to reconsider evolution. In deep-time listening, a continuum is created. The sound and the experience embodies Ocean Space through sequences created by the artist, but it remains within the visitors, evolving and as a physically embodied memory.


Taloi Havini (b. 1981, Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea) currently lives and works in Sydney, Australia. Havini's work is often a personal response to the politics of location exploring contested sites and histories connected within Oceania; employing photography, sculpture, immersive video and mixed-media installations. Working with living contemporary practitioners, she is actively involved in community projects in Bougainville and Australia.