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2 GIRLS 1 CONFERENCE is the name a fundraising campaign to support Leilani Kake and I to travel to Vancouver, Canada to present papers at the Pacific Arts Association (PAA) 11th International Symposium.

The theme of the event is, Pacific Intersections and cross currents: uncharted histories and future trends. The PAA regards their gatherings as opportunities for contemporary artists, cultural leaders, historians, museum and gallery curators, researchers, and collectors to engage in lively and creative dialogue in the spirit of true enquiry.

We have presented before with the PAA, and in 2010 travelled to Rarotonga, Cook Islands to participate in the 10th International Symposium. This year Leilani has proposed to discuss her video installation practice in the context of recent research into intercultural identities. I’ve been invited to contribute to a panel entitled, “Curating Pacific Spaces: The New School of Contemporary Pacific Art from New Zealand”.

Having collaborated on international travel, lecture tours, exhibitions and events since 2004, we have built our *award-winning* art practices on strong networking, bold advocacy, a genuine sense of service to our communities and lots of love, sweat and tears! In the past we have attracted support from a wide range of organisations for our collaborative endeavours, but this year we have both returned to full-time tertiary study and arts-related funding for various reasons has been out of reach.

Therefore, we’re fundraising with all our energies to get to Canada and proudly represent our communities. Funds raised will support airfares and accommodation. We have three fundraising initiatives:

  • A campaign on New Zealand’s premier crowdfunding platform, PledgeMe
  • A pretty amazing art auction featuring work by some excellent artists who all lovingly support our cause
  • A limited edition art t-shirt created in collaboration with Tepora Malo, a promising young artist studying to complete a Bachelor of Creative Arts at Manukau Institute of Technology’s Faculty of Creative Arts in Otara, South Auckland

2 GIRLS 1 CONFERENCE is our all or nothing effort to get Pacific art and South Auckland on the PAA radar.

The campaign goes live on Sunday 26 May – a heartfelt acknowledgment of Fresh Gallery Otara’s 7th anniversary, a timeframe that had been historically marked with poignant locally inspired exhibitions, hearty celebration and the opening of the annual Pacific Arts Summit (between 2010-2012)… until this year. Leilani and I want to recognise the humble beginnings of this important South Auckland arts hub with a reminder of the original kaupapa – to generate awareness and engagement with South Auckland’s unique cultural landscape.

On Sunday 26 May, our PledgeMe campaign goes *live* and our efforts to hustle and share to the best of our abilities will go into overdrive!

Whilst we are two individuals travelling to one conference, we represent a community of hard-working artists and the massive interconnected network of Pacific people who sustain and inform them. Our participation is about representing our collectives, making South Auckland visible and engaging new audiences with our vibrant and unique arts and culture.

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