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Just Like Home - Lisa Hilli


Just Like Home is an exhibition, a meal, a film and a biography, which explores artist Lisa Hilli's New Guinean and Australian heritage.

Just Like Home celebrates the continuation of Tolais cooking traditions, unique to the people of Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, with an Aussie twist. With one simple meal Lisa Hilli highlights issues of assimilation and cultural adaption.


Video Documentary - Lisa's video documentary, Just Like Home, is a portrayal of her mother, Cathy, preparing I gir (e gee-rrra), literally meaning 'to steam with hot stones'. Made in suburban Brisbane, Just Like Home positions this specific Tolais culinary practice in a Western context, and reveals an interesting development; instead of using banana leaves which are integral to the cooking process, Lisa's mother uses tin foil, thus adapting the recipe to suit her new adopted home and the resources at hand.

Sculptures - Watch Hilli's video documentary under the shade of her life-sized banana tree sculptures constructed entirely of tin foil. Drawing inspiration from her mother these banana trees are shining monuments to the continuation and adaptation of this specific Tolais cooking tradition within Australia, and a celebration of a cultureís capacities to respond to shifting circumstances.


I Gir Cooking Demonstration / Performance
Lisa Hilli and her mother Cathy Hilli guide and demonstrate a celebratory feast melding Australian and Papua New Guinean cultures, where members of the public participate in the preparation, cooking and eating of I gir, a traditional vegetable and chicken dish cooked in banana leaves. While much of the time consuming food preparation will be done in advance of the demonstration participants are encouraged to try scraping coconuts, softening banana leaves and assisting Cathy in other aspects of the process. Then participants sit down and share I gir with Lisa and Cathy.

National Tour Dates
31 March - 11 April 2010 Brisbane Powerhouse, Brisbane
20 May - 26 June 2010 Nexus Multicultural Arts, Adelaide
1-24 July 2010 Colac Otways Performing Arts & Cultural Centre

23-26 Sept 2010 Elcho Island, Arnhem Land

Workshops:  21 Sept 11am - 1pm and 28 Sept 6pm - 9pm Darwin Community Arts Centre, Malak

Download the catalogue (PDF)

Detailed production information (PDF)

It soon becomes evident that Just Like Home is less of a documentary than a documented exchange, a personal conversation between Hilli and her mother that we happen to be privy to; the camera a simply an intermediary.
- Meg Hale, Re-emoting The Screen, Remote Catalogue, Next Wave Festival 2008

Tinfoil became the conduit between her PNG ancestry and her Australian way of life... - Lily Bragge, The Age, 2008

As a critical focal point of this project, I feel it is important to maintain my cultural inheritance and continue to practice them even if they are not truly in the traditional sense. By applying these cultural histories and traditions in a contemporary context, I believe my ideas and knowledge of New Guinean culture are being delivered in a way that appeals to an audience within popular culture yet fulfils my own need to maintain a specific New Guinean / Australian individuality. - Lisa Hilli, artist




The 2010 National Tour of Just Like Home is proudly presented by Kultour and developed in partnership with Multicultural Arts Victoria (a Kultour Company Member). The Northern Territory tour is presented by Artback NT: Arts Development and Touring.

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