I love reading Luvvie Ajayi‘s writing and have taken up the challenge to blog everyday in August as part of her #31WriteNow challenge!
I’m always in the throws of multiple simultaneous art projects, and August will be a cocktail of travel, speaking engagements, event planning, pitching and assignment writing. I’m drawn to the #31WriteNow challenge because I’m 31 right now, and life is pretty good!
I’ve come to the tail end of the #2girls1conference fundraising campaign – an epic journey with my art ally, Leilani Kake. Through crowdfunding, hand-printed art t-shirts and an amazing art auction, we managed to raise NZ$8000 in two months! We hosted our final event last night – an opportunity for our community here in South Auckland to hear the papers we’re delivering next week at the Pacific Arts Association (PAA) 11th International Symposium in Vancouver. It was a good night – we loved situating that kind of event / discourse right at the grassroots and we’re super grateful to the Otara Scorpions for hosting us. Thanks also to Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai, the other PAA speaker from South Auckland, who also delivered her paper last night. Kolokesa is sharp as a knife; the kind of curator I’m proud to be associated with!
Leilani and I are so excited to be leaving for Canada this weekend. Despite this not being a holiday, it’ll just be nice to get out of New Zealand albeit briefly. I still want to see a bear, but I’m not sure if that will make it onto the itinerary.
I’ve been thinking about acknowledging all the people who contributed to the #2girls1conference campaign – I’m compiling the list. It’s pretty massive. I’ll be blogging everyday in August, so watch this space!
South Auckland Community First In Line For International Art Talks
The local South Auckland community will be the first to hear local arts leaders present papers due to be delivered at the Pacific Arts Association’s International Symposium in Vancouver next month with a special preview evening to be held in Otara at the end of July.
After months of selling hand-printed t-shirts, an art auction selling works donated by local artists and a PledgeMe campaign taking place to fund the trip to Canada, Leilani Kake, Ema Tavola and Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai are giving the local community that has both inspired their papers and made the trip possible the first opportunity to hear their presentations.
Ms Tavola says that she is looking forward to sharing her ideas with the local arts audience.
“My art career was established in Otara; presenting my paper here first reflects the kaupapa of putting Otara and the Pacific at the centre of what I do.”
Ms Kake, a video installation artist and educator, will be talking about her chosen creative discipline in Pasifika Obscura: Pacific Video Art from New Zealand. Ms Māhina-Tuai, a curator and writer, will discuss The Mis-Education of Moana / Pacific Arts and Ms Tavola will reflect on her years of experience in curating exhibitions for Fresh Gallery Otara in Pacific Art for Pacific Audiences: Grassroots Curating in South Auckland.
Each presentation will last around 15 minutes, with time after each for the audience to offer feedback and suggestions.
What: Pacific Arts Association International Symposium Paper Preview Evening
When: Wednesday 31 July, doors open at 6.30pm, 7pm start
Where: Otara Scorpions Rugby League Clubrooms, Ngati Otara Park, cnr Alexander Crescent and Otara Road, Otara
Title: REAL TALK series Date: 2013 Medium: Screenprint on 300gsm Archival Paper Dimensions: 594x420mm [unframed]
Born in 1992 and raised in South Auckland, Tepora Malo is a Samoan visual artist studying at the Faculty of Creative Arts at Manukau Institute of Technology. Noted for her innovative mash-up design style combining Island florals with animal print and urban iconography, Malo collaborated with Leilani Kake and Ema Tavola to produce the REAL TALK T-shirt design for the #2girls1conference campaign.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Creative Arts, Malo plans to develop her print and design practice expanding into fashion and textiles.
Title: Promotional image forNgā Hau E Whā – The Four Winds Date: 2010 Medium: Digital Print on Archival Paper Dimensions: 520x694mm [unframed]
This is the promotional image created for Leilani Kake’s solo exhibition, Ngā Hau E Whā – The Four Winds at Fresh Gallery Otara, part of the 2011 Auckland Arts Festival. The original photograph was made by Vinesh Kumaran and digitally altered by Ema Tavola to create an image that suggested nudity, without creating controversy in Otara’s heavily faith-based community.
Notably, Ngā Hau E Whā – The Four Winds was the first exhibition at Fresh Gallery Otara to attract a review from The New Zealand Herald’s art critic, T.J McNamara, read it here. It was also Leilani’s first solo exhibition on home soil, the first exhibition that presented full frontal female nudity and Fresh Gallery Otara’s first involvement with a regional fine arts programme.
This image whilst crude in its digital mastery, is a historical record of an important exhibition that represented Fresh Gallery Otara’s relationship, accountability and respect for the Otara community and Pacific audience between 2006-2012.
Leilani Kake is a practising video installation artist and educator. Having exhibited broadly throughout New Zealand at venues including Auckland Art Gallery, City Gallery Wellington and Fresh Gallery Otara, Leilani has also featured in exhibitions in Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, France, Taiwan and the United States. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Auckland is currently completing a Graduate Diploma of Secondary Teaching. She is also one half of #2girls1conference!
Title:Pimp My Trishaw Series #1 – Homage to My Homegirls Date: 2013 Series:Pimp My Trishaw Medium: Digital Print on 175gsm Matte Paper Dimensions: 210x297mm [framed]
In this series Lim draws upon the trishaw culture in Malacca; a small state located in Malaysia where this unique culture turn tradition came about, as a result from the state’s thriving tourism industry. Malacca’s rich history, architecture and cultural influences from the Portuguese and Dutch occupation have made it a year round hotspot for tourists and locals alike.
These three wheeler carts are often shrine-like; owners heavily decorate their trishaws with brightly coloured flowers, fairy lights, flags and cheap plastic store-bought items, paying homage to the patriotism of the local people and its culture.
Pimp My Trishaw Series #1 – Homage to My Homegirls was created specifically for the #2girls1conference Art Auction, as a special tribute to Ema Tavola and Leilani Kake’s journeys and passion for their work in advocating for the Pacific and Maori arts in South Auckland, Aotearoa.
This work comes with three pairs of customised 3D paper glasses.
Nicole Lim is a South Auckland-based graphic designer and visual artist. Since 2009, Lim has been an integral part of Fresh Gallery Otara, the dynamic exhibitions gallery located in the Otara Town Centre. She took up the role of Gallery Assistant after completing a four-year Bachelor of Visual Arts at the University of Auckland at Manukau and worked under the curatorial leadership of Ema Tavola until 2012. Lim has been exhibiting her graphic design, painting and objects since 2009. In 2012 she curated her first exhibition, 2 For 1 featuring her own work alongside fellow recent graduate David Sun for St Paul St Gallery 3.
Master carver, Clinton Hewett originates from Aitutaki, Cook Islands; he has over 18 years of experience in carving and researching the cultural arts and crafts of the Pacific. Through his Auckland-based company, Tribal Designz, Hewett produces contemporary carving, custom tattoo design, ukulele and 21st keys. In Aitutaki, Hewett’s work can be found at Tamanu Beach Resort, Pacific Resort and Aitutaki Lagoon Resort where he has spent time as carver in residence.
Hewett is currently studying at the Faculty of Creative Arts, Manukau Institute of Technology. He recently showed at Auckland’s Ferari Space, and is part of Pirianga Toto – a survey of contemporary Cook Islands artists curated by Leilani Kake for Fresh Gallery Otara opening in August 2013.
Title: Decolonise Your Tongue Date: 2013 Medium: Mixed media collage Dimensions: 305x355mm [framed]
Fijian native Luisa Tora is a second year Visual Arts major at the Faculty of Creative at Manukau Institute of Technology, Otara. She lives in Onehunga with her girlfriend, painter Molly Rangiwai McHale and six cats that don’t belong to them.
Title: Pataka 2.0 Date: 2013 Edition: Artist Proof Medium: Dry-point Etch on Archival Paper Dimensions: 330x435mm [framed]
The Pataka 2.0 dry-point etch series is a extension of my ‘Piri Āporo’ project which looked at ‘glocalised’ campaigns, in particular supermarkets that utilise Maori cultural elements to appear of local orientation. The outward investigation of how others appropriate what was assumed open source material produced work that utilised ‘face value’ and stereotypes. The extension of this project became an inward evaluation of my relationship to supermarkets – the dependency traps, the dislocation from where food comes from, the values embedded in knowing your food and the land that sustains us.
I have hope for the future as contemporary culture is trending towards community gardens, localized markets, gardens in homes and schools.
Martin Awa Clarke Langdon (Tainui) is a South Auckland-based multidisciplinary artist whose work explores the tensions and opportunities of bi-cultural duality and the third space. Langdon has recently shown in group exhibitions, Ngaru Rua curated by Gabrielle Belz for Nathan Homestead, South Auckland and Mana for Jam at Toi Pōneke Gallery, Wellington. His solo exhibition Dysfunctional Harmony at Papakura Art Gallery in January 2013, presented a series of works and ideas explored during his Postgraduate Diploma of Fine Arts undertaken at the University of Auckland in 2012.
Maori Minx was designed for the Villa Maria Cult Couture fashion awards in 2011; it was a finalist in the ‘Recycled Revolution’ category. The five-piece ensemble is made out of re-purposed mink blankets in the popular koru design.
The outfit consists of a lined fishtail floor-length skirt with an exaggerated train, a fitted bodice, two kimono inspired detached sleeves and a hooded shrug with ties. It has proven to be quite versatile; in the original runway show, the skirt is worn as a strapless dress without the bodice. The hooded shrug itself is a stand-alone statement piece. Whether purchased for personal use or display, Maori Minx is certainly one of a kind!
Czarina Wilson has been a regular name on the Pacific competitive fashion circuit since the late 1990s. With awards and recognition for entries in the ‘Traditionally Inspired’, ‘Recycled Revolution’, ‘Streetwear’ and ‘Hero’ categories of both Westfield Style Pasifika and Villa Maria Cult Couture, Wilson has become known for her labour intensive handwork and innovative use of weaving and vinyl. She presented her first solo exhibition, entitled Plastic, at Fresh Gallery Otara in 2010 and has been involved in numerous exhibitions since then including Cult Couture Showcase curated by Doris de Pont for the 2012 Southside Arts Festival.
Wilson maintains a busy practice producing costumes, custom-made gowns, streetwear and accessories from her base in Glen Innes, East Auckland.
Title: Dark Horses [triptych] Date: 2013 Medium: Collage on Archival Paper Dimensions: 330x435mm [framed]
In my current practice I explore the ideas of sex, sexuality and surface through the use of collage. By collecting, selecting and arranging disparate imagery sourced from pornographic magazines I further twist and contort these bodies and emancipated parts to further emphasize the rawness and callous nature of pornographic sex.
These images have been cut, bruised, decapitated, scanned, printed then pasted resulting in distinct qualities and shocking forms. There is a familiarity attached to these images; they are something, yet nothing. They both give and they take. The then reproduction of these images emphasizes the superficial qualities of a surface; the things we see and touch. The bodies that you see before you are frozen in a moment of titillation and vulgarity carved from a previous context in order to create another.
Kerrie-Anne Van Heerden is a recent graduate from the Faculty of Creative Arts at Manukau Institute of Technology in South Auckland. She holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts and is currently completing a Master of Arts Management degree at AUT University. In addition to her exhibition practice, Van Heerden is an active member of the Youth Art Committee at Artstation Toi Tu, Auckland Council’s community art centre in Ponsonby.