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Latai Taumoepeau won the 2022 ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art

Latai Taumoepeau (TO/AU) was announced as the 2022 winner of ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art on Saturday 17th September.

Latai Taumoepeau was revealed as the 9th winner of the prestigious prize during the ANTI Prize Party in Kuopio, Finland.

The 2022 shortlist comprised of four celebrated artists from across the globe: River Lin (Taiwan), Zinzi Minott (United Kingdom), Liz Rosenfeld (United States/Germany) and Latai Taumoepeau (Tonga/Australia).

The prize, at €30,000, is one of the richest in the arts. ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art is the world’s only international prize dedicated to live art. The prize is funded by the Saastamoinen Foundation.

The phenomenal live works of the shortlisted artists were presented in the Shortlist LIVE! Programme, supported by The Kone Foundation, during the 2022 ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival.

In 2022, Curator Robin Deacon (United Kingdom) worked as the Chair of Jury, and the other members of the jury were Dramaturge Anna Teuwen (Germany), and Curator Gabi Ngcobo (South Africa).

The jury considered the nominees’ work from the past few years through documentation – and experienced their recent works in the Shortlist LIVE! Programme together with other audiences.

The Jury states of the Winner

“The more ancient I am, the more contemporary my work is.”

This fascinating quotation from Latai Taumoepeau represents a great summation of a practice that aims to ‘centre indigenous knowledge systems’. The jury was struck by how brilliantly her work engages with issues of climate change and reconstruction of ancestral place. 

Many of us would have found ourselves in the town square observing last night’s performance by Latai – this was the best kind of a methodical, long durational practice – moving ice from one end of the square to another, with shifts in patterns and ways of doing. This introduced a complexity in the repetitions that spoke to more than the artist’s exhaustion. This is, at its core, body centered work – what Latai has described as “doing space”.

 The jury was particularly impressed with Latai’s reflections on a form of artistic engagement that can shift into broader areas of land management and social engagement. Through all our interactions with Latai’s practice, the jury had a clear sense of an artist in a unique process of rebuilding themselves and taking their practice into genuinely new and expansive directions.