Posts tagged ‘Creative New Zealand’

I’m working with an awe-inspiring group of women on a curatorial project for the 4th International Biennale of Casablanca. A successful grant application from Creative New Zealand was announced earlier this month, and we came together this past weekend to talanoa in real time.

The working title of the project is A Maternal Lens, it will include new work by Margaret Aull, Leilani Kake, Julia Mage’au Gray, Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai and Vaimaila Urale. The exhibition project will open in Casablanca, Morocco in late October.

I’ll write more in the coming months about this project – it’s hearty. I just wanted to share that this weekend’s wānanga in Whaingaroa was filled with the sounds of the ocean and bush, the energy of an exquisite sunset and life-giving sunrise; it was restorative and invigorating. We missed Julia, who was in Australia making marks, but I’m feeling so positive about this project and its unique approach that privileges the roles of mothers / parents (M is for Mothers in the PIMPImanifesto).

I can’t wait to see it come together.

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Visiting Auckland Museum store room, photograph by Sangeeta Singh11 September, 2015 – Suva, FIJI – Four Fijian New Zealand and Australian based women artists will congregate in Suva, Fiji next week for a creative research project inspired by the practice of Fijian female tattooing. This is the first time a research project is being undertaken to delve into the lost tradition of Fijian female tattooing of veiqia.

The Veiqia Project has gathered seven contemporary Fijian women artists engaged in Australia and New Zealand to participate in shared research activities and Museum visits to inform the development of new artwork for an exhibition due to take place in Auckland, New Zealand in March 2016. At its heart, The Veiqia Project involves nine Fijian women – seven artists and two curators – on a journey of artistic and cultural enquiry.

Four of the seven artists will travel to Suva from the 14th to 28th September to undertake research, meetings and participate in events.

New Zealand-based artists Margaret Aull, Joana Monolagi and Luisa Tora will join Australian-based Dulcie Stewart on the trip. Project and exhibition curators Tarisi Vunidilo and Ema Tavola, both proud i-taukei women from the province of Kadavu are excited about the prospects of their research in Fiji.

Through a shared online research forum and time spent with Fijian collections at museums in Australia, Fiji and New Zealand, the artists have generated an indigenous research archive driven by personal, artistic and relational connections. The project has drawn significant support from Auckland Museum, Fiji Museum, the Fijian Art Project, practitioners, supporters, friends and family engaged both on and offline.

“Fijian women used to have a very proud ancient tradition of veiqia, where girl children were tattooed when they reached puberty. This tradition has been lost over time due to colonization and other factors. Veiqia has intrigued many of us for a long time and we are very excited to come back home to Fiji to research more about this ancient art and to discuss and share with other Fijians their views and stories about this once practiced art”, Ms. Tavola said.

“We are grateful to Creative New Zealand for significant funding towards this research enabling us to bring our Fijian women artists together to collaborate on this project”, she added.

“We are inviting everyone to come to our organised events to share with us in story- telling and talanoa about our traditions and research that we hope one day will be revived. Come and take ownership of discussions surrounding this ancient female artform”, she said.

The artists will hold a Veiqia panel discussion at the FNU campus on Thursday, 17th September and an open day on Saturday, 19th September at the Fiji Museum Veranda and will include visitations to artists at Tagimoucia Gallery, Fiji Corrections Unit, Suva and dialogue with Fijian tattooist Billy Blaze.

Please see below for more details on the exhibition, visit https://pimpiknows.com/theveiqiaproject/ or contact Tarisi Vunidilo 7517241 for more information.

The Veiqia Project: Panel Discussion

Hear from the curators and artists behind a creative project that connects artists, Museum collections and Fijian tattoo.
Speakers: Margaret Aull, Joana Monolagi, Dulcie Stewart, Ema Tavola, Luisa Tora, Tarisi Vunidilo with guest speaker Julia Maga’au Gray

Date: Thursday 17 September, 2015
Time: 6 – 8pm
Venue: FNU Campus Raiwai, Carpenter Street
Enquiries: Theresa Koroi, ph: 9987150, email: Theresa.Koroi@fnu.ac.fj

The Veiqia Project: Investigating our tattooed histories

Come and learn about the research The Veiqia Project has uncovered, watch Melanesian tatu artist Julia Mage’au Gray demonstrate traditional hand-poke tattoo style, get involved with fun art activities, hear from The Veiqia Project artists and the ways Museum collections can inspire new understandings of our Pacific art histories.

Date: Saturday 19 September, 2015
Time: 10am – 3pm
Venue: Fiji Museum Veranda

Image credit: Sangeeta Singh, with permission from Auckland Museum
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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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This video briefly documents the journey of Fijian-Maori visual artist Margaret Aull from her Te Awamutu studio in the Waikato to her solo exhibition at Papakura Art Gallery in South Auckland. I co-curated Margaret’s solo exhibition, Concealed Ancestors with Nigel Borell; the exhibition features sculpture and works on paper and runs until 23 February 2013. Read more here.

This video was shot and edited by Leilani Kake and produced as an archival record with support from the Pacific Arts Committee, Creative New Zealand and Toi o Manukau.

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I am humbled to be the recipient of the Contemporary Pacific Artist Award of the 2012 Arts Pasifika Awards, administered by the Pacific Arts Committee of Creative New Zealand.

For the past five months, I’ve been transitioning from full-time employment, working in the field of Pacific arts advocacy and curating, to self-employment. Working in a freelance capacity, it is at this time that recognition for my work as a Pacific curator carries significant value.

I had an emotional time at the Awards ceremony, trying to acknowledge everyone. I didn’t mention Jim Vivieaere or Epeli Hau’ofa, who have passed on and whose legacies provide ongoing inspiration for my work. I didn’t acknowledge the investment and support of my parents, Helen and Kaliopate Tavola, and my dear sister, Mereia Carling. I didn’t even acknowledge the artists in my life who are my sounding boards, mentors and collaborators, in particular my South Auckland crew Nigel Borell, Tanu Gago, Rebecca Hobbs, Leilani Kake and the excellent Fresh Gallery Otara brain box, Nicole Lim. But it was lovely to have a small South Auckland contingent in the form of Margaret Aull (honorary South Aucklander!), Donna Tupaea (Chair, Toi o Manukau), my partner Taka and Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai.

I have worked tirelessly for the past seven years and produced 80 odd exhibitions featuring almost 300 artists. I’ve enjoyed so much of the journey and draw such happiness from seeing the artists I’ve worked with go on to do great things. I thanked the Pacific Arts Committee, and Creative New Zealand for acknowledging the art form of curating. I feel it is a historical shift in thinking and represents a win for everyone who works behind the scenes – the producers, publishers, directors and editors – those who enable, empower and encourage our artists to take raw talent, mix it with skills and professionalism and create strong and robust platforms for Pacific expression.

Vinaka vakalevu Creative New Zealand and members of the Pacific Arts Committee!

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