Theatre artist Lemi Ponifasio founded the MAU in Auckland in 1995, an ensemble of community and artists from New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. MAU is a Samoan word that means a declaration to the truth of a matter or revolution as an effort to transform.
In his artistic universe, Ponifasio orients the modern individual towards other dimensions of consciousness by way of the decelerated rhythm of his strict aesthetic, making use of striking images, movement and dynamic interplay of light and darkness. A pioneer at the international frontier of dance and theatre art, his theatre vision transcends the barriers between genres and cultures and transmits the universal power of art.
Lemi Ponifasio presents his productions in such places as the Ruhrtriennale, Lincoln Center New York, Edinburgh International Festival, Theatre de la Ville Paris, London's Southbank, Holland Festival, Santiago a Mil Chile, Vienna Festival and Berliner Festspiele.
His most recent works include I AM where Ponifasio directs his attention at the major cities of our time, exploring the fragile balance between creation and destruction that defines our civilization until today; Birds With Skymirrors responding to the disappearing Pacific Islands, homelands to most of his dancers and devastated by climate change; Tempest: Without A Body, concerning our collective paralysis in the face of truth, symbolized by increased and unlawful use of state power post 9/11; Le Savali: Berlin confronting the imperial City of Berlin with its own communities, the young generation of immigrant families in search of belonging and constrained by threat of deportation; and Stones In Her Mouth introducing ten Maori women as transmitters of a life force through oratory, ancient chants, choralwork and dance, who communicate their adaptiveness, resiliency and rage against the apparatus of power, oppression and even Western-style feminism. In 2012 Ponifasio staged the epic opera Prometheus by Carl Orff for the Ruhrtriennale.