Holding On is the title Angela Tiatia has given the performance video she created in 2015 on Funafuti, the main atoll of Tuvalu, an archipelago halfway between Australia and Hawai’i. The artist lies uneasily on a cement slab as the surrounding ocean laps and washes over her in rhythmic tidal surges. Holding On captures the struggle between the body of the artist and the body of the ocean as the tide rises.
The islands comprising Tuvalu are now just two metres above sea level and its inhabitants are in constant danger of being washed away. For Tiatia, the work is about the stark realities of global warming: It’s my response to climate change and rising water levels in the Pacific. It’s a direct reflection of the people of the Pacific holding onto their lands.1 1 Angela Tiatia interviewed by Varia Karipoff. Varia Karipoff, ‘Angela Tiatia: Holding On’, Art Guide Australia, 20 September 2018, https://artguide.com.au/angela-tiatia-holding-on, accessed November 2019.