featuring Samuel Tupou



Created and performed by POLYTOXIC
Animation by PETE FOLEY

Photo by Sean Young

Australian dance‐theatre company Polytoxic present a striking new performance created for Planet IndigenUs at the Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, Canada and also presented at the lagoon in Cairns, Australia.

Trade Winds is a stunning outdoor installation created in collaboration with contemporary Pacific visual artist Samuel Tupou. Performed atop the water, Trade Winds melds animated projection, bold costuming and intricate physical performance as two women navigate and negotiate their way across the vast watery surface.

The Pacific was the first ocean to be explored and settled, and its history is filled with stories of voyages, meetings, and exchanges between cultures. Trade Winds re-imagines these exchanges both past and present, in a technicolour world where the traditions of the Pacific collide with the trappings of pop culture.

Surrounding the water are tiny boats carrying messages from near and afar, and just as the early Europeans traded beads for coconuts, Trade Winds invites audiences to contribute their own message.

About the artists:
Polytoxic is based in Brisbane, Australia, and creates work inspired by the traditions of the Pacific, the guts of physical performance and the crimes of pop-culture. Samuel Tupou is one of Australia’s most exciting contemporary Pacific visual artists whose artwork sets traditional Tongan Tapa patterns against the stylized images and wildly artificial colours of western pop culture. Pete Foley is an animator, illustrator and motion designer, whose distinct point of view holds references to Art Deco, minimalism, mythology and video game culture.

Polytoxic bio:

Inspired by the traditions of the Pacific, the guts of physical performance and the crimes of pop-culture, Polytoxic serves up a signature style like no other. Incorporating dance-theatre, physical cabaret and visual design, the company’s ethos is to create entertaining and robust work with a political, contemporary and satirical bite.

Since 2000, Polytoxic’s work has taken them from traditional huts to the Sydney Opera House, glitzy fashion parades to dusty big-tops, and independent seasons to major festivals. Polytoxic has performed throughout Australia at venues including Sydney Opera House, Artshouse, Ten Days on the Island, Queensland Theatre Company, Brisbane Powerhouse, QPAC, Adelaide Fringe and the Dreaming Festival; as well as internationally at Wan Smolbag Vanuatu and Harbourfront Centre Canada. They also work extensively in cross-cultural collaborations with a range of communities.

Polytoxic is currently supported by MAPS (Managing & Producing Services for Artists) Qld; are Studio Artists with Queensland Theatre Company, and Company-in-Residence at the Brisbane Powerhouse.


Born 1976, Dunedin, New Zealand;  After studying printmaking at University in Townsville and later Lismore, Samuel Tupou moved to Cairns, Queensland to Start a T-shirt company and soon became a member of the exciting artist collective – ‘The Upholstery’. In a quest to explore the convergence of cultures, Tupou employs patterns derived from traditional Pacific Island ‘Tapa’ or bark cloth, set against the stylized images and wildly artificial colours of western pop culture.