Telly Tuita: Tongpop’s Great Expectations

Campbelltown Arts Centre presents Telly Tuita: Tongpop’s Great Expectations, the first solo exhibition of Wellington-based visual artist Tuita in Australia.

Telly Tuita’s childhood memories in Tonga are a driving force in his artistic practice, they are at the heart of his powerful performative self-portraits over a 25-year period (1999-2023). Tongpop is a term coined by Tuita to describe his visual language. It celebrates Tuita’s rich relationship with his ancestral home of Tonga and his lived experiences in Australia and Aotearoa (New Zealand).

The exhibition, Tongpop’s Great Expectations, invites visitors to experience Tuita’s Tongpop multiverse. It is a compelling assembly of early works from Tuita’s time growing up in Minto and working in Campbelltown and from his practice since 2017 when the artist moved to Pōneke Wellington, Aotearoa. Central to the exhibition are two major new commissions. The first a site-specific Tongpop landscape which will feature mixed media painting and installation. The exhibition will also present a new multi-channel video work, the artist’s first time working in animation.

Telly Tuita encourages visitors to recognise their own life in his story, especially the conflict between great expectations of ourselves and the expectations of our contemporary global and technological reality. The exhibition is accompanied by an intergenerational public program which will focus on how one encounters the different stages of life, in Tuita’s words, “dawn, day and dusk”.