Tui, 2020 - by Tama Sharman

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Tui, 2020 by Tama Sharman

This written piece was commissioned by Midsumma in April 2020 as a response to the mass loss of the Melbourne queer arts industry (due to COVID-19). This blog is part of a series of works from our LGBTQIA+ arts and culture community that gives Midsumma audiences an insight into the practice of the queer arts and helps to make queer arts and cultures more accessible to diverse audiences in this time of social distancing and uncertainty.

Tama Sharman multi discipline artist/printmaker from Aotearoa now Lives and works and in the Kulin Nation- respect. He has exhibited regularly for 15 years and his work features in many public institutions and private collections across the globe. 


Tama Sharman
Tui, 2020
Mp4, 2.32 mins


Filmed on Wurundjeri lands of the Kulin Nation, I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging

This video piece Tui is in response to a media article about a missing woman Tui Barcley from Otepoti / Dunedin, Aotearoa

To date, she has not been found and a cold case was opened recently as foul play was suspected.

The reason the initial investigation was discontinued prematurely was that Tui was assumed ‘to have returned to a previous life of drug use and prostitution’.

I was moved by this to create the short work Tui, in response to the disregard that Tui was shown in the handling of this missing person case.

Walking on the shattered light made such a violent sound
echoed the police and media’s careless dehumanising of Tui Barcley
her bones are missing?
shattered lights I’m walking on
where is she?
sweep up the shatter
or evidence destroyed
swept up, sweep up, tidy up 

Tui bird sings in a phone in an empty place
is disregarded 
justice is done? It’s protected
this justice 
long enough to create a mystery

the violent crunching and the sweeping up
life keeps going


~ Tama Sharman @la_hole

See more about Tama's work Dark Sepia here
and here



Edition #4 - Midsumma's tips for queer arts, artists and culture makers in the time of COVID-19

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