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Jacob Tolo

“The historical connection between this region and the people of the Pacific Islands is well documented and having first hand interactions has given me a further understanding of this relationship. Exploring the process of making work from a non-western perspective has always been a key element to much of my art and curatorial work.

From the beginning FCACheartsJogja has given me the freedom and space to examine the process as much as the final outcome.

The connections with the Jogja artists have created bonds that are lifelong. FCAC has made introductions to an artist and cultural community that is beyond mere acquaintance but friendships.

My introduction to SURVIVE! Garage and in particular artist Bay Widodo was hugely appreciated as it mirrored and informed my own practice and goal for a similar space to occur here in Melbourne for the artists I work with.

The type of projects that stem from FCACHeartsJogja to me have been centred around a social and inclusive method of working that I find positive and engaging. The collaborative nature does not feel forced and all expression has been met with support and encouragement from all involved. The project has always acknowledged the importance of person to person interactions which occur between the art making and for me this is key to pursuing any collaboration.”


Jacob Tolo was born in the Pacific Island of Samoa and was raised in Auckland (NZ). Studying Graphic Design at Auckland Institute of Technology (now AUT) and Post Graduate study at Melbourne’s Swinburne University in Masters in Multi-Media Design. An award winning designer Jacob is also a visual artist and curator.

Co-founder and Co-Director of the Indigenous-run arts space Blak Dot Gallery (Melbourne), Jacob’s curatorial interest and arts practice is in Contemporary Pacific Art and Culturally Specific Design. Jacobs Design practice has won awards with a focus on culturally specific design with his own company ‘Design Tologata’ and also works as an Art Director for Indigenous New Media Production house Sista Girl Productions, working with local Indigenous organisations.

Jacob’s arts practice is reflective of his design background and fascination with representation of Pacific culture by outsiders. His curatorial focus for the future is to work closely with his own community of Pacific artists from Australia and internationally as an inroad to a deeper understanding of his own culture.

Jacob also blogs under the monika ‘Made In the Pacific’  a design space for all things Oceanic which he assures will be updated as soon as he finds the time.


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