“Performance and video art is what I do”

Tobias Allen.

Tobias Allen.

Tobias Allen, a third-year student in Fine Arts, is pushing the boundaries of contemporary art and gender identity.

Tobias leapt head-first into studying at Massey from across the ditch.

“The first time I'd ever been to Wellington was Open Day, and the second day was the day that I moved here.”

Tobias says the Fine Arts degree allows him to “do all the weird shit I always really wanted to do.

“I've always been interested in performance art and things that are really challenging and ambitious. I wasn't allowed to do performance art at my school—I wanted to paint with my own blood, and do very large scale things like burning.

“That’s one of the strengths of Massey’s Fine Arts degree—the fact that it’s focused on being a contemporary practicing artist. It’s about the critical thinking and how you can take it further.

“Artworks are not individual things for me, they're ongoing continuously. It is a ‘practice’; an going thing.”

Gender identity and queerness are major themes in Tobias’ work.

“At the moment I'm making work about the relationship between queerness and death using video, music and sound recordings. I've composed an eight-minute piano composition, and I'm creating videos of that and making music for ‘the queer dead’. They are people who are separated from themselves in their deaths.

“I've managed to break into the drag scene here in Wellington which is really awesome. And doing so from a really weird and non-binary art perspective, with pretty aggressive gender drag. My drag name is No one, Nobody, Nothing.

“As an art student, I couldn't not go for something bleak.”

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Design by Ngataiharuru Taepa, Kaihautu Toi Māori—Director of Māori Arts

Toi Rauwhārangi
College of Creative Arts
Wellington, Aotearoa