Ema Tavola (b.1982) is an independent curator based in Suva, Fiji. Having established her practice managing Fresh Gallery Ōtara, a local government funded community art gallery in South Auckland, New Zealand, Tavola’s curatorial concerns are grounded in the opportunities of contemporary art to engage grassroots audiences, shift representational politics and archive the Pacific experience. Tavola has worked in galleries and museums throughout New Zealand and is committed to curating as a mechanism for social inclusion, centralising Pacific ways of seeing, and exhibition making as a mode of decolonisation.
Recent projects include Kaitani (2017) for The Physics Room (Christchurch), Dravuni: Sivia yani na Vunilagi – Beyond the Horizon (2016) for the New Zealand Maritime Museum (Auckland) / University of the South Pacific (2018), and Between Wind and Water (2015) for Enjoy Public Art Gallery (Welling). Tavola’s Pacific people centred approach formed the basis of a manifesto on Pacific curatorial practice written as Artist in Residence with the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies at the University of Canterbury in 2017. In 2018, she was appointed to the curatorial committee for the 4th International Biennial of Casablanca where she will deliver a group exhibition entitled, A Maternal Lens.