Uhila will live and work in Tokyo at Youkobo Art Space, a prestigious residency organisation in central Tokyo, from September to November 2018. He will also have the opportunity to meet and work with other international artists and curators.
Uhila says he plans to connect with the Tongan diaspora who have relocated to Tokyo.
“I want to understand the ways in which Tongan culture has adapted to Asian society. My focus will be on time: how time is used and how time changes in relation to space and people."
Born in 1981 in Tonga, Uhila’s contemporary performances are imbued with his heritage. He incorporates Pacific and Western iconography in his work.
Uhila recently graduated with a Masters in Performance and Media Arts from Auckland University of Technology where he studied the construction of performance to understand the patterns and language hidden inside the body.
Uhila earned the Visual Arts Award for his work ‘Pigs In he Yard’ at The Auckland Fringe 2011 Awards and was one of four artists selected and nominated for the well-known Auckland Art Gallery Walters Prize in 2014.
The Asia New Zealand Foundation has run its artist-in-residence programme in Asia since 2007, exposing New Zealand artists to new ideas and experimental art forms in some of the region’s most vibrant cities. Since 2015, the Foundation has partnered with Creative New Zealand to deliver four of its residencies, including Youkobo Art Space.