Te Tuhi- centre for the arts
27 August – 6 November 2011
Auckland-based artist Angela Tiatia considers the effect of foreign investment on a developing country by documenting the failed Sheraton Resort in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. The NZ$122 million resort development, with allegations of Italian Mafia involvement, was stalled in 1998 following the arrest of several key people involved. As guarantors, the Cook Island Government was almost financially crippled by the abandoned development – the balance totalling approximately half of the nation’s debt.
Tiatia’s documentation brings the current reality of the abandoned resort into slow focus. The incomplete luxury chalets are overcome by vegetation and standing as derelict concrete shells on an island paradise. Exhibited as a dual projection, footage of the decaying resort is coupled with a single long take of a nearby tour boat pictured floating, solitary and unused. Also exhibited, is actual framed evidence of the debt incurred including purchase agreements, bank statements and architectural plans found onsite by the artist. As a solemn memorial to the Cook Island’s tourism industry, Tiatia’s Neo-colonial Extracts also reflects the consequences of globalisation on a developing island nation.