Kalisolaite achieved his Bachelor of Visual Arts from Auckland University of Technology, Auckland in 2010.Â Just one year after graduating, he earned the Visual Arts Award for his work Pigs In The Yard at The Auckland Fringe 2011 Awards.Â In 2013 Kalisolaite received the Iris Fisher Scholarship from Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, Pakuranga while studying for his Postgraduate Diploma in Dance from the University of Auckland; awarded annually to assist postgraduate art students with promising and visionary
Kalisolaiteâ€™s practice seamlessly draws from both Tongan notions of being and Euro-American art historical legacies of performance from the 1960s onwards. What makes his work unique is his experiential approach. Rather than performing ideas, he manifests them into metaphors which determine a way of being. For an unassuming audience looking to the artist for some kind of explanation Kalisolaiteâ€™s silence forces a projection of your own thoughts and feelings.
During the second iteration of his performance Moâ€™ui Tukuhausia at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Kalisolaite spent some time at Aucklandâ€™s Wynyard Quarter. Becoming transfixed by the motions of the ocean inspired his next work Ongo Mei Moana. Ongo Mei Moana performed on Oriental Bay was a part of the 2015 Performance Arcade in Wellington. Through Tongan oration and choreography Kalisolaite conducted the sea for six hours from low to high tide at every low tide for 5 days. In this performance Kalisolaite was referencing the ocean not as something that divides countries but as a way of connecting people. Wearing ngatu and si leaves Kalisolaite is referencing his family lineage of Tongan mariners who used to go offshore to the Tongan-Kermadec volcanic arc collecting black rocks used to decorate cemeteries. This performance is a sophisticated blend of past, present, personal and global.
Kalisolaite has exhibited in a number of group and solo exhibitions including:Â Politics of Sharing: On Collective Wisdom, Artspace, Auckland, 2017;Â Kohikohi, Fresh Gallery ÅŒtara, Auckland, 2016;Â Ongo Mei Moana, Performance Arcade, 2015; Walters Prize Finalists Exhibition, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland, 2014; Tonga Democracy Festival, Atenisi University, Tonga, 2014; Puehu: Cultural Dust, The Suter Arts Gallery, Nelson; More Than We Know, Gus Fisher Gallery, Auckland, 2013; What do you mean we?, Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, 2012; Reflection on Rena, Bay of Plenty Polytech, Tauranga, 2012; Stowaway + The Performance Arcade, New Zealand Fringe Festival, Wellington + Te Papa Museum, Wellington, 2012; Matala celebration of Tongan Artists, Mangere Arts Centre, 2012; The Anatomy of Paradise, Mother Man, Artstation, Auckland, 2012; Â Auckland Fringe Festival, Mangere Arts Centre â€“ NgÄ Tohu o Uenuku, 2011; Pigs in the Yard, Performance Arcade, Aotea Square, 2011; TILT, St Paul St Gallery 3, Auckland, 2010; Make/Shift, St Paul St Gallery, Auckland, 2010; Donâ€™t Pacify Me, St Paul St Gallery, Auckland, 2009.