Drawing activity for "MALE: Maori or Polynesian" by Leilani KakeThe Between Wind and Water publication documents the Enjoy Public Art Gallery Summer Residency undertaken in January 2015 by Tanu Gago, Leilani Kake, Ema Tavola and Luisa Tora. It has been designed by Meredith Crowe and features written and drawn contributions by Tanu Gago, Leilani Kake, Fuimaono Karl Pulotu-Endemann, Jessica Hansell, Kaliopate Tavola, Teresia Teaiwa, Luisa Tora and Faith Wilson.

Being between wind and water is to be precarious, vulnerable.

Making, presenting and discussing Pacific art and Pacific audiences in Aotearoa is a political, problematic and divisive process. Our small community is fragmented and diasporically disjointed. In a dominant cultural environment, Celebration By Default Syndrome too often squashes criticality particularly in the context of a top-heavy funding paradigm. In Aotearoa, assertion of identity is an act embedded in systems of power, privilege and oppression; Pacific people and Pacific art will never be ‘post-identity’.

The Between Wind and Water exhibition and residency was planned to literally and conceptually align with Wellington’s annual Pasifika Festival. The project centralises Pacific art, people and ways of seeing. A grant received from Creative New Zealand enabled the artists to develop new and experimental work for the exhibition, and the Summer Residency at Enjoy Public Art Gallery allowed us to present it, discuss it and bring people together to reflect and honour Pacific lives and experience in Aotearoa.

The artworks define their community, their intangible context of relational accountability. They represent the people and spaces the artists’ draw from, and are sustained by. They cut close to the heart for some, and reveal attitudes towards Otherness, privilege, colonisation and its residue on our everyday lives. Over two weeks, the Gallery became a forum for conversations about the Ocean, race and belonging, merging communities and the flawed ideal of the Super City. We broke bread with new friends, shared tears for West Papua, and got inspired by some of New Zealand’s most conscious Pacific thinkers, culture shapers and trailblazers.

This publication is a record of our residency, an epic collective undertaking. It represents the spaces around and between Pacific art and audience, capturing moments of love, respect and consciousness for Oceania.

Ema Tavola
Curator

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