Lemi Ponifasio

Lemi Ponifasio is a Samoan and New Zealand choreographer, dancer, director, designer, and artist, whose work defies conventional definitions. In 1995, he founded MAU in Auckland, New Zealand, in collaboration with communities and artists from all over the world. MAU, in Samoan, is a reference to the quest for truth. His works—in which light and darkness fight each other and black challenges white—plunge the audience into a dreamlike and ceremonial space, into a cosmogonic reflection. His show Birds With Skymirrors, created in 2010, testified of the disappearance of the Pacific islands, homeland to many of its performers, devastated by climate change. Among other shows, Lagimoana was presented at the Biennale in Venice in 2015, and Apocalypsis at the Luminato Festival in Toronto that same year. Stones In Her Mouth in 2013 was the beginning of a long collaboration with Maori women from communities whose powerful evocation of life has been transmitted through ancient oratorical songs. Lemi Ponifasio was invited to present I AM in the Cour d'honneur of the Palais des papes during the 68th edition of the Festival d'Avignon.  

Portrait of Lemi Ponifasio © portrait MAU