Salote Tawale / Fiji/Australia b.1976 / No Location (installation view) 2021 / Bamboo, nylon rope, cotton, polycarbonate, sheeting, tarpaulin and found objects / 300 x 240 x 1350cm (approx.) / Commissioned for APT10. Purchased 2021 with funds from the Jennifer Taylor Bequest through the QAGOMA Foundation / Collection: QAGOMA / This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, and the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian State and Territory Governments / © Salote Tawale / Photograph: Natasha Harth, QAGOMA

Salote Tawale
No Location 2021

Not Currently on Display

Taking the form of a 12-metre-long raft made from pliable lengths of bamboo lashed together with recycled bedsheets and rope, No Location is inspired by HMS No Come Back — a similarly scaled vessel whose construction was documented for the Fiji Museum in Suva. Salote Tawale felt an immediate sense of connection to this boat, which she imagined would provide the perfect vessel for a person divided between Australia and Fiji to inhabit.

Boats like HMS No Come Back are known in Fiji as bilibili and were traditionally created to move people and goods from the interior of Fiji downriver to the sea. Bilibili were relatively easy to construct, and light and flexible enough to move through rapids and over obstacles in the river. At the end of each journey, having served its purpose, the bilibili would be deconstructed and any difficult-to-find materials kept and recycled in future vessels.

Constructed with the same attitude towards using readily available and recyclable materials, No Location is uniquely adapted for Tawale herself; a range of objects installed on the vessel evoke the presence and specificity of the artist’s body and personal history, including solar panels, an iPad (so she can watch her favourite English crime shows) and a deflated air mattress.

By embodying everyday contemporary materials, Salote Tawale can create and shape new forms and interpretations that relate directly to her experience and identity. The makeshift aesthetic of No Location speaks to the artist’s need to ‘shift and constantly reshape her cultural slippage’.1


1 Salote Tawale, ‘Introduction’, Salote Tawale [artist book], Arts NSW, Sydney, 2017, p.2.

Salote Tawale was born in Fiji and grew up in suburban Melbourne. She works across a range of media to explore and comment on experiences of dislocation specific to living and working as an intersectional person in Australia.

A queer woman of colour, Tawale views her works — whether they are representational or not — as self-portraits through which she directs and controls her image, its context, use and distribution. From video performances to sculptural objects, she presents her image as intentionally performative, slipping around and between fixed categories of being and playfully unsettling ideas of authenticity and homogeneity.

A warm sense of humour and humility pervades much of Tawale’s work as she self-reflexively creates new spaces of possibility and belonging within the myriad cultures in which she resides.

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