A series of new and experimental works by Margaret Aull (Te Rarawa, Tūwharetoa / Fiji), Leilani Kake (Ngāpuhi, Tainui / Cook Islands) and Ema Tavola (Aotearoa / Fiji) probe the charged territory of race, racism and cultural safety in Aotearoa New Zealand.
In paint and pixels, the three female artists have been inspired by shared experiences of racism and othering, colonial regulations and systemic inequality, research into migration, exploration and belonging, and the politics of representation and stereotypes. The discourse surrounding these themes is personal and agitating; there is a perpetual flux between the embodied histories of coloniser/colonised and conscious decolonisation.
Margaret Aull’s confident signature painting style combines bold colour and the symbolism of taonga, ancestors, mana and migration. Leilani Kake, who works predominantly in video installation, has been immersed in readings on the colonial mechanisms of a British oath of allegiance used in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland in the 19th century. In a series of watercolour and ink paintings, Ema Tavola re-imagines John Webber’s 1785 painting of Poedua, said to be the first great portrait of a Pacific Island woman made for a Western audience.
The exhibition has been made site-specifically for Olly, a new gallery-café in Auckland’s Mount Eden. Olly co-founder, Chlöe Swarbrick, ran for the Auckland Mayoralty in the 2016 Local Government election and mobilised a substantial community of Aucklanders to participate in the democratic process with her fresh and conscious leadership.
All the works in The Perpetual Flux of Transitional Otherness are for sale and the exhibition runs from 6 March – 2 April 2017. Olly is open from 7am – 3pm, Monday to Friday and located at 537 Mount Eden Road, Mount Eden, Auckland