TRADES Artist in Residence program benefits visiting artists and people of Hawai‘i mutually and equally. We view sharing and exchange as fundamental modes of learning and community building. We forge connections. Beyond a residency’s usual provision of time and space, TRADES foregrounds place.



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Léuli Eshrāghi

Léuli Eshrāghi, AOAULI, 2020 (detail

Winter 2023
Honolulu, Oʻahu Hawaiʻi

Our January was spent working alongside Léuli Eshrāghi and collaborators out of Aupuni Space, doing our part to help produce their multi-faceted afiafi project. Much of Léuli’s time was dedicated to assembling and connecting with a hui of like-minded collaborators, developing ideas in community, and finally capturing the whole thing on video. Filmed in collaboration with kekahi wahi, featuring adorning lei by Reise Kochi, and a multigenerational cast of local performers; we are thankful to all for their integral support of the project.

3 views of a collaborative crew working alongside Léuli Eshrāghi and kekahi wahi on afiafiproduction; Pu’u ‘Õhia and Ka’alawai, Kona, O‘ahu

Léuli’s residency began with an open conversation with community at Aupuni Space, led by Drew Kahuʻāina Broderick. We are deeply grateful to Kaili Chun and Waileia Roster, representatives of the Laila Twigg-Smith Art Fund, for their attendance and participation in the evening and most of all for their generous support of afiafi. A further mahalo for their support of Koa Gallery’s residency for Bhenji Ra, Amrita Hepi, and Jahra Wasalasala Rager. The double bill was conceived to explore and reinforce similar themes—and the back-to-back visits amplified impacts for all visiting artists and local participants. Mahalo to Juvana Soliven, for welcoming Léuli to her Art History class at Chaminade University, where a presentation on an alternative Pacific-Oceanic framing of Art History prompted a lively discussion between the students, Léuli and Juvana.

On January 31st, to close the residency, Léuli shared Aupuni Space with fellow artists and afiafi collaborators Kalikopuanehoaokalani Aiu and Hercules Goss-Kuehn. Léuli presented a new version of the performance installation, tangata a nuʻu poʻo tangata a fanguʻu (2022)—literally ʻpeople of the villages or people of bottled oil’ in Sāmoan—a contemporary faʻamalama (offering to ancestors, spirits and guardian spirits). Subsequently, Kaliko and Herc presented Light Inside Your Body Warms Mine, a series of two solos and a duo contact improvisation—the movement, choreography, and improvisational scores of which illuminated the diaspora of transqueer islanders returning to sites of home.

Excerpts of afiafi premiered at MoMAʻs Doc Fortnight in New York, as part of i nā kiʻi ma mua, nā kiʻi ma hope—A Screening Program from Hawai‘i curated by kekahi wahi. Afiafi is currently presented in its full installation form in The National 4: Australian Art Now at Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney from March 30 – July 9, 2023; and opens next month a Interfacial Intimacies at Plimsoll Gallery, University of Tasmania in Hobart from June 8 – August 5, 2023. We very much look forward to welcoming Léuli back to these shores, to share afiafi with our Hawai‘i community later this year!

afiafi, 2023 installed at Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney
photo credit: Anna Kucera