Posts tagged ‘Genevieve Pini’

Samoa mo Samoa (2004) by Genevieve Pini

Samoa mo Samoa (2004) by Genevieve Pini, 290x195mm, edition of 3, signed inkjet prints on Hahnemühle Matt FineArt paper. Framed NZ$200 / Unframed NZ$160.

Having studied jewellery, garment construction and photography, Genevieve Pini’s interdisciplinary art practice reflects family, feminism and bloodlines between Otara and Samoa. I spoke to her briefly about her work, Samoa mo Samoa in “That’s not Pacific Art”, the second exhibition in the PIMPI Winter Series

Samoa mo Samoa is a photograph you made in 2004, what is it about and where was taken? 

Samoa mo Samoa means Samoa for Samoa, it’s the motto of the Mau Movement. Just seeing it in South Auckland made me open my eyes a bit about how we relate to our history, being where we are.

I didn’t do the tag, but I liked the politics of it… it was a good feeling seeing it on Othello shops in Otara (heart of South Auckland), I was just waiting for the bus when I saw it. It’s about claiming space, and it was up there for ages. It made me think, where is the place of our histories in our everyday life in New Zealand? It’s in the people.

“Fa’amalu” (2004) by Genevieve Pini

Otara and Samoa are significant anchors in your life and art practice, something strongly present in your work based on the process of getting your malu in 2003. I know it was a significant juncture in your life; it bonded your blood to this land, and your present (and future) to your past, Samoa to Otara. I’ve always loved how your photograph, Fa’amalu, captures the moment of excitement and intrigue before you got tattooed, how did your malu change your life and outlook?

Watching my dad going through his pe’a, the sight of seeing his blood, thinking ‘oh my god, that’s my dad, doing his thing for his family’. My dad, comes from Samoa, lives in Otara, does all this stuff for his family… working, sending money back home, keeping traditions alive.

I feel proud. And of course a certain obligation to do my part through art. I know from experience that my art doesn’t financially support my family’s Samoan fa’alavelaves and stuff but as long as I can represent them the best way I know how, I love doing art.

My malu gives me a sense of pride, knowing that my family are behind me and supporting me. When you get down to it, it represents love.

What does Samoa mo Samoa mean to you today?

It means family, love, respect… there are so many layers to this. The past, present and future, a sense of place. I have a place here…


That’s not Pacific Art
6-22 August
Featuring Faafeu Kapeneta, Ana Lakusa, Qingze Nan and Genevieve Pini.

Big Willie Legacy Barber & Tattoo Studio is located at 159 Mt Eden Road, Mt Eden, Auckland. Open Mondays from 9am-6pm, Tuesday-Saturday from 9am-7pm. Barber and tattoo appointments and enquiries: /

Exhibition and Artwork Enquiries

I’ve been dreaming about establishing another gallery in South Auckland. I love curating, I love selling art and I love collaborating with artists to make good shows that contribute to broadening awareness and understanding of Pacific ways of seeing and being in Auckland, New Zealand.

Whilst I’m hopeful my one-day gallery is in the near future, in the meantime I’ve collaborated with Tongan tattoo artist, Stan Lolohea to develop the PIMPI Winter Series: a series of three pop-up exhibitions at his Mt Eden barber and tattoo studio. We’re working with 12 artists over eight weeks facilitating the presentation of around 25 individual pieces of work, most of which has never been exhibited before, and all work is for sale!

These artists excite me! From Canberra-based Sione Monu, the Brown-Instagram-famous selfie savant, Faafeu Kapeneta, photographing the small but visible Tongan community in rural Marlborough, to visual arts students Qingze Nan, Daisy Tavilione and Pati Solomona Tyrell, each making experimental, bold work at MIT Faculty of Creative Arts in the heart of Otara, South Auckland.

I feel super privileged that for some of these artists, this is their first exhibition. Some are Pacific art regulars, whilst others have been fairly quiet on the exhibition scene. The PIMPI Winter Series has been a call to action, inspiring new work and a different context for engaging with Pacific art and ideas.

U Can’t Touch This (16 July – 1 August) features Talafungani Finau, Sione Monu, Siliga David Setoga and Daisy Tavilione. In the first of the series, this site specific exhibition acknowledges the head, the hair and the selfie. In Fiji, like many parts of Oceania, the head is the most sacred part of the body; in the words of Stanley Kirk Burrell, U Can’t Touch This. Situated in and around the barber shop floor, four Pacific artists have created new work about the head (literally), and the most important and sacred parts of life. In references to family portraiture and the celebratory lei (garland), there are acknowledgements of nature and culture, life and death, loved ones and idols.

That’s not Pacific Art (6 – 22 August) features Faafeu Kapeneta, ‘Ana Lakusa, Qingze Nan and Genevieve Pini. Inspired by conversations around definitions, problematic terminology, authorship and belonging, this exhibition confronts popular expectations of what Pacific art is / should be. Some work deviates from direct references to identity and community, people and places, others present perplexing juxtapositions of tradition, human and geographical landscapes.

Know what I mean, jellybean? (27 August – 12 September) features Leilani Kake, Niutuiatua Lemalu, Waiora Palalagi and Pati Solomona Tyrell. In reference to a line from the movie Blood In, Blood Out, this exhibition touches on the idea of cultural chameleonism, and the everyday negotiation of difference across and between cultural and social environments, vernacular and humour, ways of being and seeing.

Meet the artists at the PIMPI Winter Series Private Views, pick up a copy of Stan Lolohea’s essay and get in quick – artwork is priced to sell!

Big Willie Legacy Barber & Tattoo Studio


Big Willie Legacy Barber & Tattoo Studio is located at 159 Mt Eden Road, Mt Eden, Auckland. It’s open Mondays from 9am-6pm, Tuesday-Saturday from 9am-7pm.

Appointments and enquiries: (09) 630 4380 /


SOUTH Issue 2 (2013)
For the past six months I’ve worked with my long-time collaborator, Nigel Borell to produce a second issue of the free arts publication, SOUTH.

We established SOUTH in 2010 as co-editors and launched the first issue in January 2011 at Fresh Gallery Otara. Despite significant changes in budgets, energy and employment, Nigel persisted with the vision and Issue 2 was born. His hard work has attracted investment and financial support from Manukau Institute of Technology (Faculty of Creative Arts) and the Creative Communities Scheme, all of which has enabled me to return to the shared editorial role in a freelance capacity. We’re excited to be working with a new group of stakeholders and look forward to extending the investment opportunities for Issue 3!

Nigel and I have a close working relationship with Edgar Melitao, SOUTH’s design partner and artistic director. Choosing a front cover image is a highlight of the design and editorial process; it seems to bring everything together and galvanise the conviction of the publication.

I produced an experimental fashion editorial for SOUTH Issue 2 working with local designers Melissa Cole, Genevieve Pini and Tyrone Tautiepa. Shot on location in the South Auckland suburbs of Otara, Middlemore and Papatoetoe, the designers were challenged to research and develop, style and direct their own shoots with photographer, Vinesh Kumaran.


The SOUTH Issue 2 cover shot was styled and art directed by Otara-based Samoan artist and designer, Genevieve Pini. Pairing her own design, the Miss Lavalava skirt (featured in the 2012 Cult Couture fashion award show) with a limited edition chopped & screwed YOU LOVE MY FRESH t-shirt by Tanu Gago (a Mangere-based Samoan artist) she wanted her image to be fierce and empowered, and to represent an homage to her hood.

As a cover, this image represents the defiant and robust nature of the South Auckland arts sector: its strength, urbanity, Pacific Island cultural richness and unique vernacular. As a representation of the Pacific Island body, it is empowered, relatively unedited and unapologetically XXL. As the model and producer of this image, I love that it enabled an artist to engineer her own representation.

SOUTH is a free annual arts publication published by Toi o Manukau. It is available at art centres and libraries throughout South Auckland and at selected art spaces in the Auckland region.

Join SOUTH on Facebook to comment, share and engage with the SOUTH community.

I modeled this skirt for Otara-based Samoan artist and designer, Genevieve Pini for an experimental fashion editorial in the upcoming issue of SOUTH, coming out January 2013. Genevieve has often talked about how much she wanted the garments she created for South Auckland’s annual fashion and wearable art competition, Cult Couture, to be modeled by chunkier models. The editorial was an opportunity for each of the invited designers to present their garments, style and ideas in a way they had complete control over. Genevieve identified this alleyway near where she lives in Otara; she wanted to show her hood, her environment, her comfort zone as her inspiration. It came together really nicely and I can’t wait to see the final images in print.

With a few additions, this piece entitled Miss Lavalava was customised to fit me for the SOUTH photo shoot. The garment was made for the Recycled Revolution category of this year’s Cult Couture event. It is made of a recycled rice sack, a nylon carry-bag and meters and meters of fabric scraps. Genevieve observed the construction technique on a recent trip to Samoa where it is commonly used to make floor mats for the bathroom and doorway areas.

I also loved wearing Miss Lavalava to the 2012 Arts Pasifika Awards in Wellington earlier this month where it attracted a lot of attention! I was proud to represent an artist from South Auckland whose practice I’ve been watching and appreciating for the past 10 years.

I’m currently writing a profile on Otara-based Samoan visual artist, Genevieve Pini for the upcoming issue of SOUTH.

Genevieve went to McAuley High School in Ōtāhuhu before studying at Manukau School of Visual Arts (now MIT Faculty of Creative Arts) and NZ Fashion Tech. She has regularly featured in South Auckland’s annual fashion competition, Cult Couture and shown numerous times at Fresh Gallery Otara.

I’ve always loved this photograph Genevieve shot in 2004. She took it at the house where she got her malu (traditional Samoan female tattoo) in Otara.I love the light on the subject’s shoulder and all the South Auckland signifiers.

I’m interested in Genevieve’s attitudes towards exhibiting, making and being tattooed, and enjoying the process of writing about her.

SOUTH is an annual publication about Māori and Pacific arts and culture in South Auckland. The upcoming issue will be launched on Saturday 12 January 2013 at Papakura Art Gallery. More info coming soon!


I’m producing a fashion editorial for the upcoming issue of SOUTH, an arts publication I co-edit with Nigel Borell about Maori and Pacific arts and culture in South Auckland. Three South Auckland designers will be styling a series of concept images about their inspiration, space, style and creative conviction. I tagged along with Samoan designer Genevieve Pini to find an alleyway as a location for one of her ideas. This alleyway in between Dawson Road and Zelda Avenue in Otara was a winner.

In a sea of ‘Council brown’ (the colour so many urban spaces are painted in an effort to discourage tagging and graffiti), a banana tree towers over the rickety tin fence in a burst of tropical greens. I love it.

SOUTH Issue will be launched at the opening of Concealed Ancestors at Papakura Art Gallery, South Auckland on 12 January 2013!

1 Comment
%d bloggers like this: