Posts tagged ‘Curating’

The impressive and relatively new campus of Manukau Institute of Technology houses two stunning commissioned large scale Pacific artworks (below) which curator, Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai notes, “The form and content of these two works are unique and cannot be found anywhere in Aotearoa NZ, the wider Moana Pacific or in the world. This is a result of the approach and process involved, the materials used, and the special collaboration of older artists and collectives practicing and innovating art forms from the homeland in Aotearoa, and younger Aotearoa born artists, whose practices are informed by influences and mediums they encounter living and growing up here. The basic intention of this approach was to do away with the problematic distinction of ‘traditional’ or ‘heritage’ and ‘contemporary’ artists and arts, when they are in reality coexistent and continuous in circular and inclusive ways.”

The work on the left (below) is called “Ngatu Tupenu Tā’uli'” (Black-marked cloth) and was produced as a collaboration between Benjamin Work and Fauniteni ‘o e Mo’ui, a central Auckland-based Tongan Women fine arts collective from the Dominion Road Tongan Methodist Church. The work on the right is called “Three Kete“; the design was created by Leilani Kake and produced with the knowledge and fine hands of the Cook Islands Mamas led by Master Tīvaevae artist Mary Ama and supported by Annabelle Wichman Hosking, Tukua Turia, Tutana Tuaeu, Mata Te Pai and the Pacifica Mamas of the Pacifica Arts Centre, West Auckland.

The Manukau Tertiary Centre is also currently hosting the small but perfectly formed, jam-packed Taku Tamaki Auckland Stories exhibition, developed by Auckland War Memorial Museum. It was a privilege to be an advisor on this project; it is the most comprehensive South Auckland 101 experience you can get and I take all visitors there as the first port of call. (I spoke at the opening and my speech is here)

I’m also super proud to have work that I’ve been part of on display in this building: six large scale photographic portraits made by Vinesh Kumaran and I at the ASB Polyfest in 2015 are on permanent display on the exterior facing wall of the theatre.

I spent four years studying at MIT completing my undergraduate degree, three semesters teaching there and many, many hours in and around the campuses in Ōtara and Manukau. I’m a big fan of the work the Institute has done to increase Pacific achievement in tertiary education, and this new campus is quietly becoming a hive of conscious Pacific art activity!

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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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The first event we’re hosting as part of the Between Wind and Water Summer Residency at Enjoy Public Art Gallery brings together broad and diverse perspectives on Pacific art and the politics of engagement.

In a meaty debate, facilitated by Sean Mallon, writer-curators Ioana Gordon-Smith, Daniel Michael Satele and Between Wind and Water curator, Ema Tavola, intend to unpack some of the sticky and sometimes unspoken issues surrounding Pacific art making and curating in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Originally from Wellington, Ioana Gordon-Smith is a curator and writer based in Auckland. She previously worked with Artspace, Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust and Unitec, and has worked on exhibitions for Fresh Gallery Otara, Papakura Art Gallery and Gus Fisher Gallery. Ioana currently works as Curator at Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery.

Daniel Michael Satele is a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Auckland. His art writing has appeared in ArtAsiaPacific, Art New Zealand, The New Zealand Listener and other publications. The Drowned World, at the-drowned-world.com, is Satele’s first curation of an art exhibition. A video component of this exhibition will be shown in the Enjoy Gallery library from 10-31 January.

Ema Tavola is a curator, blogger, qualified arts manager and mother, passionate about Pacific art, grassroots creativity, activism and social inclusion.

Sean Mallon (Senior Curator Pacific Cultures, Te Papa Tongarewa) specialises in the social and cultural history of Pacific peoples in New Zealand. He is currently researching the cultural history of Samoan tattooing, and issues relating to the agency and activism of Pacific peoples in museums.

When

Pacific vs Art: A discussion on Curating Pacific Art
5.30pm, Wednesday 14 January

The residency of Between Wind and Water artists will take place from 10-24 January 2015; the exhibition will be on show until 31 January.

Where

Enjoy Public Art Gallery is located on the First Floor, 147 Cuba Street, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand.

 Between Wind and Water has been produced with support from

BWAW sponsors1

 

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