Pati Tyrell’s Tulouna le Lagi (2022) will show in the international competition at the 69th International Short Film Festival in Oberhausen, Germany (26 April - 1 May 2023). The work is a visual interpretation of the alagaupu (proverbs) used within Samoan funeral chants and speeches.

The work’s title, Tulouna le lagi particularly references a chant used in the funeral rites for Samoan high chiefs, and can be translated as “salutation to the heaven.” Using imagery from the artist’s personal photographic archive, the film is an exploration of the oral traditions that continue to be practiced in contemporary Samoan culture.

Stemming from a conversation between the artist and curator May Ingawanij, Tulouna le lagi explores the role of prayer outside of Christianity, through chants, songs and ritual that speak to Samoan spirituality. In particular, the sound design for the film evokes the call and response format of these funeral rituals.

Pati Tyrell is a Samoan interdisciplinary artist with a strong focus on performance. He uses lens-based media to create visual material centred around ideas of urban Pacific queer identity. He has shown work at Museum of Contemporary Arts Australia, Pingyao International Photography Festival, Centre Pompidou Paris and was a 2018 Walters Prize Nominee. Tyrell is co-founder of the queer Pasifika arts collective FAFSWAG, who in 2020 received an Arts Foundation Laureate, and in 2022 showed at documenta fifteen in Kassel, Germany,

The International Short Film Festival Oberhausen is the oldest of its kind in the world, and is internationally known as a forum for experimental works of myriad content, genre and format. Every year, filmmakers from around the world present their works, with only films that are premiering on the international festival circuit being admitted into competition for the Grand Prize of the City of Oberhausen.

Tulouna le Lagi was commissioned in 2022 as part of Legacies, CIRCUIT’s 7th annual programme of Artist Cinema Commissions, curated by Dr May Adadol Ingawanij (Thai/UK).

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