Posts from the ‘Pacific Art + Artists’ category

In the age of Insta-challenges, selfies and the social currency of the click-like-share economy, visual culture can momentarily engage a seemingly infinite audience in a singular moment between photographer, lens and subject – viewer, screen and device.

In 2014, South Auckland-based photographer Vinesh Kumaran set himself the challenge of using his iPhone to shoot and share a portrait a day via photo-sharing app, Instagram. Initially conceived as a means to keep creatively active between commercial jobs, the project became a daily ritual, a visual discipline and public obsession that engaged new and diverse audiences with each new addition.

The impressive series was made over 365 days; it traces Kumaran’s footprints across Auckland, to the Far North and Sāmoa, around Aotearoa and deep into the nooks and crannies of his home suburb of Māngere. Through the square lens of Instagram, we encounter people and spaces, roller doors and weatherboards, living rooms, bikes, balls, mangroves… mats, scooters, bus stops…radiant juxtapositions and intriguing suburban camouflage.

In captions that accompany the portraits, each subject is credited; their name and age, where they live and sometimes where they are originally from. In short quotes that follow, the subject’s voice elevates the image and demystifies the gaze. Kumaran has approached strangers in the street, human to human, eye to eye; the quotes are sometimes secrets and sometimes mundane, but represent the space between the artist, the camera and the subject, and exist as the residue of the encounter.

Kumaran developed a keen interest in portraiture from documenting a highly personal journey retracing his family’s historical migration from India to Fiji and on to Aotearoa. The experience helped form an acute awareness of the power of the lens and the position of the photographer. His ability to manoeuvre through cultural difference, to find a common moment of connection has come to be a defining feature of his work, and the power of this common ground is most evident in projects that reflect and respond to his own lived experience.

“Open All Hours” series (2013) by Vinesh Kumaran

Open All Hours (2013), a series of portraits of dairy shop owners behind their counters, draws on Kumaran’s own experience of working in his family dairy. An experimental body of work documenting sugarcane farmers at the start of their days was made in Ba, the small town in rural Viti Levu, Fiji, where he grew up.

In his 2014-15 Instagram portrait project, Kumaran didn’t set out to create a ‘Humans of South Auckland’ type archive; the people of South Auckland so heavily represented in the series are a reflection of the artist’s life. He lives in Māngere, visits friends and relatives, shops and strolls in Papatoetoe, Manukau, Manurewa, Ōtāhuhu. The people he has encountered paint a rich picture of the region’s enormous diversity, connected by the common ground of being here, now. It is perhaps a timely depiction of a community in transition, where creeping gentrification and the inevitable displacement and resulting cultural shift, are redefining South Auckland every day.

This article was originally published in Art New Zealand (Issue 156, Summer 2015-16)

Hello, my name is Vinesh is a solo exhibition consisting of 74 Instagram portraits made between 2014-15. The exhibition opens the 2017 PIMPI Winter Series, supported by the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board and produced for Lime Espresso Bar & Eatery in Ōtāhuhu. Find out more here.

Courtesy of Konile Fusitua

Ōtāhuhu is changing before our eyes. Auckland’s housing crisis has shifted the appeal of our neighbourhoods and new home buyers, residents and investment are transforming the demography and commercial landscape of parts of South Auckland at an alarming rate. The second exhibition of the 2017 PIMPI Winter Series confronts the inevitable cultural transformation of communities and spaces undergoing gentrification in South Auckland. Featuring local and international artists, #CHANGES presents reflections on social histories, memory and place-making, intercultural navigation and the uncomfortable relationship between gentrification and neo-colonialism.

Courtesy of Manu Vaea

In a new series of illustrations, Manu Vaea reflects on time spent growing up on “Mad Ave” in Glen Innes, an infamous neighbourhood once dubbed the “street from hell”. The area underwent redevelopment in the early 2000s and has since been re-populated and re-branded as Mount Taylor Drive, Glendowie. Vaea’s illustrations on rose-tinted metallic paper are drawn from family photographs taken between 1989-1991; they represent the comfort and familiarity of home, and the intangible memories of a place that has been erased.

Qiane Matata-Sipu is an Ihumātao-based photographer and storyteller. Her peoples’ ancestral lands have been, and continue to be, ravaged by waves of rapid change from settler confiscation and occupation to present-day rural re-zoning, the construction of massive industrial factories and a government endorsed Special Housing Area development for 500 high density homes. In a new series called Waitohu, meaning ‘to mark, signify, indicate; a symbol, brand or sign’, Matata-Sipu juxtaposes the language of signage seen in the Ihumātao area with images of land, skies and children, the inheritors of this shifting landscape. In stark and confronting layers, the fit and misfit of these elements expose the crassness of capitalist commercialisation against the mana of the whenua.

Local artist Sean Kerrigan has an aesthetic, craftsmanship and philosophical grounding that seems harder to come by in the digital age of art making. His work is the product of time and energy spent understanding, negotiating and shaping materials. His hand-scratched bedhead is emblazoned with a South Auckland alpha-mutt, a common mix derived from Pitty x Staffy (Pitbull and Staffordshire Terrier breeds), a symbol that creates an uneasily close reference to Mongrel Mob insignia. Kerrigan grew up in and around Māngere and Ōtāhuhu and has an emotional nostalgia to the way the environment shaped him, as a white man, growing up in brown neighbourhoods. His work references a mash-up of the famed JFK quote, Think not what the ghetto can do for you but FEEL, with your heart, what you can be of the ghetto. 

Courtesy of Lisiate Wolfgramm

In a series of infographic posters, Utah-based graphic artist, Lisiate Wolfgramm reflects the global footprints of the Pacific diaspora where contrasting attitudes, tensions and skillsets emerge and evolve around food and celebration, space and distance, names and pronunciation. Now globally connected via social media, the Pacific diaspora experience is documented, discussed and shared online across every social platform. Wolfgramm’s cheeky instructional diagrams serve to entertain familiar audiences, and create an honest and informative interface with others. 

In only her second exhibition, Ōtāhuhu College student Lilia Rakoia uses the architectural lines and features of Ōtāhuhu’s changing landscape in two new paintings. The landmarks and place-making of the past and future collide in a kind of Southside futurism, an exciting beginning for a young artist’s creative practice.

As the youngest artist in the exhibition, Konile Fusitua is separating his creative expression from the digital to the tangible realm for the first time. In daily postings across all his social platforms, Fusitua is an avid content creator, making portraits and compositions depicting the world he inhabits with sister Ofa Moana, the music and media they consume, and observations of South Auckland from fresh eyes having migrated to New Zealand in 2016 from Portland, Oregon, USA. Over his three hand-held-device-scaled works, Fusitua presents three accompanying garlands that symbolically bring the digital and natural worlds together in beauty and symmetry, balance and ephemerality.

Defying curatorial convention, #CHANGES curator Ema Tavola includes a concept artwork for the exhibition and its themes in the form of a paper collage entitled, Why Lady. In preparing to pursue a research residency at the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies at the University of Canterbury, Tavola endeavours to explore the role of making, recording and idea visualisation in the act of curating. Why Lady combines references to site specificity, dominant culture / cultural dominance, and the body politics and fashioning of brown bodies and white bodies.

This exhibition aims to probe gentrification and its process of displacement and manifestation of economic privilege. In the words of locals, Ōtāhuhu is changes. There is undeniable value in the process of historically segregated communities being unnaturally thrust together, learning to live, somewhat awkwardly, side-by-side. But as the momentum of change increases, the inevitable transformation of our communities becomes less about the benefits of having better access to good coffee, but the quietly shifting dynamics of power and numbers, control and influence, agency, belonging and entitlement.

This exhibition has been produced with support from the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board.

#CHANGES

Featuring: Konile Fusitua, Sean Kerrigan, Qiane Matata-Sipu, Lilia Rakoia, Ema Tavola, Manu Vaea, Lisiate Wolfgramm
Curated by Ema Tavola

Opening: 6pm, Saturday 8 July
Panel Discussion: #RealTalk – Gentrifying South Auckland: 2pm, Saturday 22 July
Exhibition Dates: 10 – 28 July 2017

Lime Espresso Bar & Eatery is located at 507 Great South Road, Ōtāhuhu, South Auckland. Opening hours: Monday – Friday, 7am – 3pm, Saturday 9am – 2pm.

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Photo by Raymond Sagapolutele

Photo by Raymond Sagapolutele

We sat on a Fijian mat, beneath a Tongan barkcloth, opposite a Cook Islands Tīvaevae. I invited three respected peers, friends and colleagues into a safe space to discuss the notion of safe space, within the arts and cultural sectors that we work within here in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Photo by Raymond Sagapolutele

Photo by Raymond Sagapolutele

#RealTalk: Safe Space / Best Practice was an event developed upon invitation from ARTSPACE, a Creative New Zealand funded contemporary art gallery in central Auckland. The event sat within the Amor Mundi conversation series, ours was the first event to take place outside of the Karangahape Road / central Auckland environment. In an opening address, outgoing curatorial Director Misal Adnan Yıldız spoke about the purpose of our discussion in a wider arts community context, referencing the exhibition, U Can’t Touch This, part of the 2015 PIMPI Winter Series, as an example of dislocating and relocating art and exhibition making.

The old Ōtāhuhu Library was the ideal location for this talanoa. Now used as a mixed use community facility, the building is currently leased to the Ōtāhuhu Māngere Youth Group who coordinate free programmes from vogue workshops to homework sessions and music classes. It is safe space embodied.

Photo by Ema Tavola

Photo by Ema Tavola

After a round of introductions from the audience, the conversation started with a knowing of the presence in the room. The panel talked story, sharing experiences and insights of safety and conflict, risk, passion and frustration. The discussion went from: advocating in museums and symposia around the world, to the simple gesture of inviting people to step inside at community galleries in South Auckland, to personal safety, and the real, physical, harmful behaviour which affects the lives of Pacific Rainbow communities every day.

Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai spoke of tā-vā theory of reality in relation to the conflict, chaos and harmony in the space between real talk / unreal talk, safe space and unsafe space, best practice and worst practice.

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Photo by Raymond Sagapolutele

In conversation with the audience, the panel unpacked the meaning and mana of tears, of emotional intelligence and the problematic translation of emotional responsiveness to weakness and the problematic dichotomies of reason versus emotion, thinking versus feeling.

On tokenism and the risks of audience participation as superficial social experimentation, on the recognition of Tangata Whenua at the core of any discussion of diversity, and the safety provided by peers and those who stand side-by-side in times of conflict, and order.

There was so much value in this discussion. It was rich and insightful, poetic and emotional.

18423079_10155452486635312_416645647501604858_o

Photo by Raymond Sagapolutele

Many thanks to Caroline and the team at Ōtāhuhu Māngere Youth Group and to Christine O’Brien from Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board for helping to get things moving! Thank you to ARTSPACE and the vision, courage and appetite of Misal Adnan Yıldız, thank you for creating the platform for this kaupapa, I really hope the important work you have done will continue and evolve, and we all wish you so much good luck for the next chapter.

Photo by Ema Tavola

Photo by Ema Tavola

Thank you to the panel, Tanu Gago, Leilani Kake and Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai – thank you for always bringing A-game, doing what you do, always advocating hard, representing our broader communities with passion, and changing the game in small ways every day.

Thank you to Raymond Sagapolutele for recording the event beautifully, as always, thank you for your generosity of presence. And thank you to Claudia Rakoia of Lime Espresso Bar & Eatery, who nourished us heartily with a beautiful spread.

Vinaka vakalevu.

#RealTalk- safe space best practice (5)

I was invited to create an event for Artspace’s AMOR MUNDI conversation series and took the opportunity to present a panel discussion with three of my peers who work hard every day creating platforms, channels and space for diverse indigenous communities to participate in the arts. I was able to also locate the event not in central Auckland, but closer to home in South Auckland.

#RealTalk: Safe Space / Best Practice seeks to unpack the notion of safe space within the context of curating and programming arts and culture in Aotearoa. The panel draw on experience working at the interface of institutions and communities, navigating the tectonic plates of cultural difference and the tricky terrain of social inclusion.

At the heart of Kolokesa U. Māhina-Tuai’s curatorial practice is her strong foundation of Tongan indigenous knowledge and practice. This gives her a unique understanding and appreciation of the depth and breadth of Moana Pacific arts when applied through their own respective lenses, and informs her relationships and collaborations with artists from different island nations. From museums and galleries to grassroots community organisations, and through exhibitions, events, commissioned works, conferences and publications, Kolokesa champions the importance of a holistic and cyclical perspective of Moana Pacific arts that is rooted in indigenous knowledges and practices. She currently works as Project Curator Pacific at Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Leilani Kake (Ngā Puhi, Tainui, Manihiki, Rakahanga) is an artist and educator. She holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts and Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Arts from the Faculty of Creative Arts, Manukau Institute of Technology, and a Master of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland. Leilani’s arts practice is rooted within New Zealand and Cook Island Māori ideology, speaking to the universal human condition of identity, culture, tradition and change through deeply visceral personal stories. She currently works as Gallery Coordinator at Papakura Art Gallery, a community arts facility in South Auckland.

Tanu Gago is an artist, photographer, producer and queer activist currently working as the community engagement coordinator Pacific for the New Zealand AIDS Foundation working in HIV prevention. He is a founding member of the Love Life Fono Charitable Trust set up to drive community-led social development for Rainbow Pacific communities. Tanu is also the creative director of the FAFSWAG Arts Collective.

Our event is being held this Saturday 13 May from 2pm at the old Ōtāhuhu Library, a mixed use community facility located at 12-16 High Street.

 

The venue has been offered to us by the current tenants, Ōtāhuhu-Māngere Youth Group, who have worked hard to create a safe space for local young people. Post-event refreshments are provided by Lime Espresso Bar & Eatery, site for the upcoming PIMPI Winter Series!

#RealTalk: Safe Space / Best Practice endeavours to be family friendly event, childrens’ activities will be provided and parents room facilities are available.

This event has been made possible with the support from Artspace, Ōtāhuhu Māngere Youth Group and Lime Espresso Bar & Eatery.

100% free, all welcome!

Epeli Hau’ofa is still

alive and he’s healthy

without anything

afflicting his front

or his rear


His Oceanic imaginary

has expanded beyond

even his own expectations

and he would have invited

Between Wind & Water

to be exhibited at his Centre

and given you all a residency

so that the over one hundred

students enrolled in Jacki Leota’s

UU204 course this summer

could hear you all speak and

be provoked to ask you questions

and ask themselves questions

about what their ideal Pacific

looks like


(This is very important

because the majority of those

students are Indo-Fijian and

will be thinking about themselves

as Pacific for the first time

in their lives

and the majority of them

are studying business and

accounting and will be thinking

about how to make the Pacific

and the world a better place

for everyone

instead of just for themselves)


In my ideal Pacific

this exhibition and residency

would have been held in March

when our VUW students are back

and I could have encouraged

my PASI 101 students to focus

one of their assignments on it


But in my ideal Pacific

my Pacific Studies students

would be more like the

PNG Studies and Business Studies

students and graduates

I met at Divine Word University

In Madang, Papua New Guinea

last year

who get their degrees

not so they can get jobs

in air-conditioned offices

and drive air-conditioned cars

but so that they can walk barefoot

from village to village

finding out what people’s needs are

and helping them find alternatives

to mining, deforestation

and commercial over-fishing

in their region


In my ideal Pacific

Business Studies students

go on to do masters degrees in

Public Health like

the late Darlene Keju

from the Marshall Islands

and realize the crucial importance

of the art in empowering

young Pacific people to

have positive attitudes

towards their bodies

and their sexuality

and their environment

so they would be able to

live off their land

and the sea around them

and could participate in

the wider world’s economics

on their own terms


In my ideal Pacific

my ancestral island of Banaba

or Ocean Island in the central

Pacific would not have been

mined into a moonscape oblivion

by the British Phosphate Company


But if that never happened

New Zealand would not have

become quite such the land

of milk and honey that it did

and we all probably wouldn’t

be sitting here today

because I’d be surprised

if our sitting here today

was ever part of the dreaming

of the tangata whenua

who lived here prior to

the arrival of The Tory in 1839

or the iwi who even

preceded them


In my ideal Pacific

things wouldn’t be

perfect

but everyone would learn

deeply from their mistakes

like the sharks that WWF

has tracked diving to depths

of 1000 metres or more

on their journeys

around the Pacific


This text was included in the Between Wind and Water Summer Residency (2015) publication. It was Teresia Teaiwa’s contribution to the BWAW Futures Forum on Saturday 24 January, 2015.

Posted today, on the day we lost Teresia, because her words are gifts and my heart is heavy.

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Leilani Kake has made five digital prints for the experimental group show, The Perpetual Flux of Transitional Otherness currently on at Olly in Auckland’s Mt Eden. She explains some of the thinking around these works here…

On July 9th 1863, Governor George Grey issued a proclamation ordering all Māori living in the Manukau and areas closer to the Waikato district to recite the oath of allegiance to Queen Victoria. Any Māori who did not comply were forcibly removed and seen as colonial antagonists. Three days later on July 12th 1863, British Imperial troops, led by Lieutenant-General Duncan Cameron, crossed the Mangatawhiri River and into Kingitanga controlled lands. This was the vanguard of a government sanctioned armed attack and land grab in the guise of punitive justice. December 1863 saw the land confiscation law passed which deemed any tribal land where the owners had ‘engaged in open rebellion against Her Majesty’s authority’ to be confiscated (raupatu). In 2011, member of parliament Hone Harawira called for a change in the wording of the oath of allegiance asking for it to include or replace the reference to the Queen with the Treaty of Waitangi, believing it be more relevant to serve the people rather than the Queen.

Swallow series (2017) by Leilani Kake

My new experimental series titled Swallow reflects how, as a whole, the 1863 campaign of terror is evident in the historical and systemic discrimination that is still deeply entrenched in our government today. The symbolism of the mouth and moko kauae represents the Māori voice; my voice, re-telling New Zealand history to new audiences and questions whether or not to take the ‘prescribed medicine’ of the coloniser as this is still a bitter pill to swallow.


The Swallow series consists of five digital prints (pictured above) measuring 420x594mm. The works in the exhibition, The Perpetual Flux of Transitional Otherness are Artist Proofs from an edition of two. They are sold unframed and priced at NZ$300 each.

The exhibition is open at Olly, 537 Mount Eden Road, central Auckland, until 1 April 2017.

Want to know more? Send us a message here:

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The Perpetual Flux of Transitional Otherness presents 15 new works by Margaret Aull, Leilani Kake and Ema Tavola. The exhibition runs from 6 March – 1 April 2017 at Olly, 537 Mt Eden Road, Mt Eden, Auckland.

1. Poedua, Papua Merdeka
Ink, watercolour on acid free paper
297x420mm
Ema Tavola
SOLD
2. Swallow Orange (A/P, edition of 2)
Digital print
420x594mm
Leilani Kake
SOLD
SOLD
3. Black Sam
Mixed media on board
400x400mm
Margaret Aull
SOLD
4. Swallow Pink (A/P, edition of 2)
Digital print
420x594mm
Leilani Kake
A/P SOLD
2/2 available
5. Ika
Mixed media on board
300x300mm
Margaret Aull
$390
6. Poedua Addiction
Ink, watercolour on acid free paper
297x420mm
Ema Tavola
SOLD
7. Poedua for Gus (pronounced Goos)
Ink, watercolour on acid free paper
297x420mm
Ema Tavola
SOLD
8. Black Sam and his mates
Collage, acrylic ink on board
400x400mm
Margaret Aull
$390
9. Swallow Blue (A/P, edition of 2)
Digital print
420x594mm
Leilani Kake
A/P SOLD
2/2 available
10. Poedua, Galbraith Building
Ink, watercolour on acid free paper
297x420mm
Ema Tavola
SOLD
11. Kev
Mixed media on board
Margaret Aull
SOLD
12. Swallow Green (A/P, edition of 2)
Digital print
420x594mm
Leilani Kake
A/P SOLD
2/2 available
13. Poedua O.G
Ink, watercolour on acid free paper
297x420mm
Ema Tavola
$390
14. Swallow Yellow (A/P, edition of 2)
Digital print
420x594mm
Leilani Kake
$300
15. KARE
Collage, acrylic ink on canvas
700x700mm
Margaret Aull

IMG_3676
$1,100

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le-malelega-a-le-toelau

Le Malelega a le To’alau ECE in collaboration with PIMPI are excited to present a special fundraising auction of new Pacific Art at Ōtāhuhu’s Lime Espresso Bar & Eatery!

Almost 20 visual artists have generously donated artworks from photography to prints, paintings and even videography services to support the local Samoan bilingual Early Childhood Centre.

The mission of Le Malelega a le To’elau is to provide quality early childhood education learning and care for Pasifika communities using Samoan language and culture to promote their cultural identity and enhance their success in life.

Initiated by Parents’ Voice, the parents association of Le Malelega a le To’elau, funds raised will be directed towards awesome and enriching experiences for the Centre’s children and their hard working teachers!

The artworks will be displayed at the newly rebranded Lime Espresso Bar & Eatery on Great South Road in Ōtāhuhu for two weeks leading up to the Auction Night hosted by the excellent Yolande Ah Chong!

Pop in to check out the artworks and grab an excellent coffee, a cheeky treat or a great value lunch! Yum!!

  • More information on the artwork coming soon
  • Registration is now online here
  • Keep up to date with event developments on Facebook here

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The drawings in this series are six meditations on the creeping gentrification that is increasingly changing the cultural landscape of South Auckland.

I made these works for a pop-up / pocket exhibition project taking place currently in Old Papatoetoe,South Auckland. Organised by The Pantograph Punch and commissioned by Auckland Council, the exhibition takes the form of large format posters in vacant shop windows in the soon to be ‘renewed’ Old Papatoetoe mall.

 

Sm VALUES (1)In her 2014 TEDxNewYork talk, Dr Stacey Sutton discusses gentrification as a manifestation of inequality. She challenges common misconceptions about gentrification and unpacks the politics of displacement. Although speaking to American contexts, so many of these issues are applicable to the South Auckland situation.

Sm VALUES (6)

The site of the exhibition is the shop windows of empty shops in the Old Papatoetoe mall. So many of the vacant shops had hand-written signs in the window, some directing customers to a new address, others just simply declaring the end of their company’s presence in Papatoetoe. I was interested in the time, effort and emotion it took  to write such an important message, and the tensions of change and takeovers.

Sm VALUES (2)

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After various recent experiences of the Auckland Council Arts and Culture team, I’ve reflected on the values that could or should underpin arts service delivery and effectiveness from my position as a local artist. The bureaucracy protects and connects, flexing a vision of strength.

Sm VALUES (3)

Old Papatoetoe mall is getting ‘renewed’, Ōtāhuhu is getting a brand new transport depot, Manukau Train Station now brings people to the heart of Southside. Train stations bring all the bucks to the yard, too bad if you don’t live near one.

Check out Postcards from Papatoetoe, a ‘pop-up & pocket exhibition’ organised by The Pantograph Punch in the Old Papatoetoe Mall, St George Street, South Auckland. The exhibition features work by Elisabeth Alani, Quishile Charan and Pooja Subramanian, Liyen Chong, Vinesh Kumaran, Kerry Ann Lee, Lana Lopesi, and Ema Tavola.

Photo credit: Francis McWhannell, The Pantograph Punch

Gallery Notebook, Wellington High School (1999)

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what it would take to open my own gallery. I read a review of Peter McLeavey’s biography by Jill Trevelyan in an old Art New Zealand the other day, and it made me think about Peter McLeavey Gallery, and my first encounter with the space in 1999, aged 16.

Peter McLeavey passed away yesterday and I’ve been feeling heavy hearted because I suspect (like many people whose lives he touched) his influence may have steered my path clearly, and confidently, towards a life of art.

At 16, I was quite shy, but an art history assignment at Wellington High School required students to visit local galleries in order to write reviews and observations in a Gallery Notebook. I remember going to Janne Land Gallery, City Gallery Wellington and Photospace once or twice, but I returned to Peter McLeavey Gallery over and over again. I had conversations with Peter every time I visited, he took the time to talk to a shy teenager about painting and history, Māori-Pākehā dynamics, about installation and visual language. I think he was slowly blowing my mind, and I started to feel completely at ease and empowered in the space between art and audience.

I went from high school to art school, and into the workforce; I peaked pretty early, running a Council funded gallery at 23, producing festival programmes, shows upon shows, editing publications, banging on about Pacific art to everyone I met. In the midst of the awkward process of re-entering the full-time workforce having worked myself into a fairly defined niche, I’m now measuring, planning, psyching myself up to do it solo: open my own gallery, because literally, it’s where my path has led me.

I moved away from Wellington and didn’t get the opportunity to speak to Peter McLeavey again, although I popped in whenever I was in town. I started following Richard Killeen on Instagram this year, and spent three gorgeous weeks in Wellington in January, across the landing at Enjoy Public Art Gallery for their Summer Residency. I keep encountering Peter McLeavey indirectly, and keep thinking about those early visits and the way they shaped my trajectory.

Art dealing in South Auckland in the 21st century is another kettle of fish, but the space between art and audience remains, and it’s here I think Peter McLeavey showed me the power and potential of informing, listening, engaging, opening minds, enabling and celebrating art and artists. What an amazing individual, a complete game changer.

RIL Peter McLeavey

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