Posts tagged ‘Oceania Interrupted’


This is us! On Saturday 17 January from 12 – 6pm, the artists from the upcoming Between Wind and Water exhibition and residency will be at Wellington’s Positively Pasifika Festival at Waitangi Park!

Come down and meet the crew and pick up a copy of SOUTH publication featuring artist profiles, reviews, photo essays and page works by South Auckland’s finest Maori and Pacific artists. Limited edition PIMPI fans will be on sale, as well as Oceania Interrupted T-shirts… and keep an eye out for Oceania Interrupted who’ll be on a mission to raise awareness for West Papua in the capital!

The exhibition of new works by Tanu Gago, Leilani Kake and Luisa Tora opens at Enjoy Public Art Gallery on Saturday 10 January; the first event of the residency is on Wednesday 14 January – Pacific vs Art: A discussion on Curating Pacific Art all welcome!

 Between Wind and Water has been produced with support from

BWAW sponsors1

As part of the Between Wind and Water Summer Residency at Enjoy Public Art Gallery, come along to meet members and hear about Oceania Interrupted: Empowering Collective Action from 5.30pm on Friday 16 January, 2015.

Oceania Interrupted is an Auckland-based collective of Māori and Pacific women committed to undertaking public interventions to raise awareness for issues that affect Pacific Islanders both here in Aotearoa and throughout the region. The collective is currently engaged in producing a series of 15 Actions to raise awareness and demonstrate solidarity for the people of Papua and West Papua, who have been living under Indonesian colonial rule since 1962. They state, “Becoming aware of the gross injustices and ongoing human rights violations that Papuans and West Papuans endure inspires us to mobilise awareness amongst our own communities and those around us.”

Oceania Interrupted formed in 2013 and undertook the first of 15 Actions on Auckland’s Queen Street. They’ve since assembled to march, perform and dialogue at Otara Market, Pasifika Festival, Fresh Gallery Otara and most recently on Mission Bay beach.

Between Wind and Water exhibiting artist and Oceania Interrupted member, Leilani Kake, draws on her performance art practice to contribute key art direction for a number Oceania Interrupted Actions.

The collective’s next Action will take place in Wellington on Saturday 17 January. Come along to meet the crew at Enjoy Public Art Gallery to find out more and get involved! All welcome!

Keep informed about Oceania Interrupted developments on Facebook

I was invited to speak at the 40th Pecha Kucha Night in Auckland last week, an acknowledgement of six years of collaboration with Pecha Kucha Night New Zealand founder, Luka Hinse.

In 2008, I was part of the first Pecha Kucha Night in South Auckland, presented as part of the Manukau Festival of Arts. I went on to curate and contribute to four more excellent Southside events at Metro Theatre, Mangere Arts Centre and a very special outdoor event in the Otara Community Courtyard in 2011. I’ve loved being involved with this inspiring event format (20 images x 20 seconds), Luka’s vision and his deep respect for South Auckland.

My presentation last week was entitled, Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies. I wanted to speak about some current projects and the idea of community. Here’s how it went down…

01The title of my presentation is a reference to a line in a Tupac song… Real eyes, realize, real lies. This is a self portrait I did on one of the days that I listened to Tupac all day. When I realised that none of my friends appreciated Tupac the way I did growing up, I realised I needed new friends. His political and social commentary has influenced me for almost 20 years.


I used manage a community art gallery in South Auckland called Fresh Gallery Otara. Otara is a community I’ve lived in and around for the past 12 years; it’s a home away from home, a piece of the Pacific once removed. This was one of my favourite gatherings welcoming Emory Douglas of the Black Panther movement, to South Auckland in 2009. He returned last year to exhibit at the Gallery, but Fresh now is not what is used to be.

03I’m part of an collective called Oceania Interrupted, which was established by a very dynamic and passionate primary school teacher called Leilani Salesa. She initially called together Māori and Pacific women to participate in an artistic intervention to raise awareness for the plight of West Papua.

In a performance called, “Rise of the Morning Star” the West Papuan flag was raised 15 times at traffic intersections on Auckland’s Queen Street on West Papuan Independence Day, December 1st.


The number 15 is symbolic in reference to the high profile case of political prisoner of Filep Karma, who was sentenced to 15 in jail for raising the West Papuan flag. The plan became to do 15 interventions or Actions in and around Auckland and South Auckland to raise awareness and create discussion around West Papua, freedom and what can be done as New Zealanders.

Action 2 took place at the Otara Market in December 2013.

05 Auckland’s Pasifika Festival was an ideal space to create visibility for the plight of Pacific people using Pacific bodies. This was Action 3 entitled, “Free Pasifika – Free West Papua”. 14 women with bare feet and bound hands, dressed in black lavalava adorned their faces with the Morning Star flag and marched silently from village to village.

06Oceania Interrupted draws women together in different capacities – there are those who put their bodies on the front line, to perform and confront; those who hand out fliers and talk to the staring public, and those who work quietly behind the scenes. A project to make an Oceania Interrupted T-shirt was undertaken by MIT Faculty of Creative Arts student, Katarina Katoa.

???????????????????????????????With support from the Faculty’s print department, the t-shirt was designed and produced in Otara with funds committed by other women in the collective. The sale of Katarina’s T-shirts support Oceania Interrupted’s future actions and can be purchased from

This project was made possible with the excellent support of Steve Lovett, one of the most passionate and supportive lecturers I’ve had the privilege to learn from and work with.

08 In a shift from performance-based interventions, Action 4 took the form of a video that invited women to interview people in their lives about freedom, visibility of Pacific issues and West Papua. 10 women participated contributing in excess of 24 individual interviews. Woven together with footage of past actions, the video was launched at a gathering on World Press Freedom Day, May 3rd at Fresh Gallery Otara.

09In essence, Oceania Interrupted strives to bring West Papua into the consciousness of the communities that surround us as Māori and Pacific women in Aotearoa. Our freedom is inextricably bound up with that of our Pacific West Papuan brothers and sisters.

Our next Action is on August 9, International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. Find us on Facebook for updates!

10I teach a paper at MIT Faculty of Creative Arts called Pacific Art Histories: An Eccentric View. It’s the evolution of a paper first developed for the Institute by Albert Refiti and the late, great Jim Vivieaere. Jim’s legacy plays heavy on my mind in this important role. I’m proud that Pacific art and culture has been discussed openly and thoroughly at MIT for the past 13 years.

???????????????????????????????My current class are almost midway through their degree studies; Pacific Art Histories is now a mandatory theory paper in year 2. The course covers topics including: misrepresentation and colonisation, gender and sexuality, curating, tattoo, online Pacific identities and global Pacific experience, hip hop and empowerment, diaspora problems and creative entrepreneurship.

12That last photo was taken with Fijian artist and activist, Luisa Tora; she produced a poster project for International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia last month and discussed her curatorial process, personal position and politics with the class. Other speakers have included Samoan comic book artist and pro-wrestler Michel Mulipola and Tongan art historian and tattooist, Stan Lolohea.

13A photographer I’ve worked with for the past 8 years is Vinesh Kumaran. He works as a commercial photographer and is passionate about portraiture; I’ve loved seeing his personal work develop over the years. This series entitled, “Open All Hours” documents dairy owners across the Auckland region; it’s inspired by Vinesh’s own history of working in his family’s dairy in Mangere Bridge. This is one of my favourite works from the series.

14Tu’itupou Aniseko is my partner’s father; he’s a stoic man, a proud Tongan. Vinesh was working on a series documenting Pacific people in their home environments, and Tu’i accepted the request to be photographed. He stood motionless mostly and then, broke out into Tongan dance.

He said of this photo, that this is the one he would want at his funeral – this is the way he wanted people to remember him.

15Vinesh and I have collaborated on a portraiture series at the annual ASB Polyfest in South Auckland since 2009. We’ve set up a make-shift photography studio in a marquee and selected interesting and charismatic individuals to create series focused on style, hair and attitude. This year’s series, commissioned by MIT, was called “Portrait of a Generation”. This is John, he’s Tuvaluan, from Massey.

16What we aimed to do with the portraits we made at Polyfest was centralise the subject. That the image and the moment between the subject and the lens represents all that they are, their ancestors and their mana. There was no parallel agenda, no profit; I’m interested in the act of photography as empowerment… my people are not props.

17The last series we made at Polyfest created an opportunity for three Visual Arts students to assist on the project. They got insights into project management, client liaison and dynamics, photographing members of the public and explaining release forms. Their input in scouting for subjects created another dimension to this body of work that Vinesh and I really enjoyed.

18One of those students is Pati Solomona Tyrell, who featured in Samoan photographer, Tanu Gago’s 2012 series, “Avanoa o Tama”. Pati is Tanu’s partner in life and art. This work was first shown at Fresh Gallery Otara, went on to be shown at Auckland Art Gallery and later featured on the front cover of Art New Zealand. Tanu is another South Auckland artist I love and have had the privilege of working with.

19Tanu was awarded this year’s Auckland Festival of Photography Sacred Hill Annual Commission and his new series, “Tama’ita’i Pasifika Mao’i” opened last night at Silo 6. I love that Tanu talks about ‘creating a universe of Pacific identity’ from his unique position in South Auckland. Of this work, he explains the idea of capturing the exhaustion of performing culture for the dominant gaze.

20Of all the ideas of I’ve just mentioned concerning culture, community, caring, of action and accountability… this is an exhibition that sums it up for me. Kolose: The Art of Tuvalu Crochet is currently on at Mangere Arts Centre. In my humble opinion, it is the best exhibition that has ever been presented there; a massive congratulations to Fafine Niutao i Aotearoa and curators Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai and Marama Papau!

It is a Southside must see!


Oceania Interrupted produced this video for a gathering on World Press Freedom Day, Saturday 3 May, in collaboration with South Auckland-based film maker, artist and activist, Tanu Gago.

As the fourth of 15 planned interventions to raise awareness for West Papua  in Aotearoa New Zealand, Action 4 took the form of a call for women to conduct interviews and discuss the issue of West Papua, visibility and freedom with people in their lives. The interviews are woven together with footage from previous Oceania Interrupted interventions or actions, along with imagery and footage that has inspired the collective.

I love being part of Oceania Interrupted; it is life-giving and deeply empowering. Massive thanks to the women who participated and to those who were interviewed, to Tanu Gago who laboured for many hours processing footage and editing, to all the women who have been involved and will be involved in future actions. To Fresh Gallery Otara for hosting our launch and gathering on World Press Freedom Day, to the Faculty of Creative Arts at Manukau Institute of Technology for supporting the project and to everyone who has contributed to this collective effort. We ALL share one love for West Papua and in small ways, hope to be contributing to broadening awareness, mobilising action and affecting change.

Oceania Interrupted: Empowering Collective Action

More information:

Auckland-based collective Oceania Interrupted launches its fourth of 15 planned ‘Actions’ on World Press Freedom Day, Saturday 3 May at South Auckland’s Fresh Gallery Otara.

Oceania Interrupted Action 4: Freedom is... Video Project

Oceania Interrupted Action 4: Freedom is… Video stills

Formed in November 2013, Oceania Interrupted is a collective of Māori and Pacific women committed to undertaking public interventions to raise awareness for issues that affect Pacific Islanders both here in Aotearoa and throughout the region. The collective is currently engaged in producing a series of 15 Actions to raise awareness and demonstrate solidarity for the people of Papua and West Papua.

Past Actions have been performance based; women have assembled to march silently with the Morning Star flag down Queen Street in the Auckland CBD (Action 1: The Rise of the Morning Star), through the notorious Otara Market (Action 2: All We Want for Christmas is a Free West Papua) and most recently at Auckland’s Pasifika Festival (Action 3: Free Pasifika – Free West Papua).

All I Want For Christmas Is A Free West Papua, photo by Tanu Gago

Action 4: Freedom is… takes the form of a video project and gathering to mark World Press Freedom Day. Oceania Interrupted extended the invitation to participants to produce their own videos asking people in their lives about the meaning of freedom, awareness of West Papua and the visibility of the Pacific in New Zealand mainstream media. Filmed on phones, cameras and tablets, the contributions were collated and edited together with footage from past Oceania Interrupted performances by Samoan artist and activist, Tanu Gago.

Designed by Katarina KatoaDrawing attention to the power and privilege of media freedom, and freedom of expression, the Action 4: Freedom is… video will be launched on YouTube at 5pm on Saturday 3 May at a gathering at Fresh Gallery Otara.

Bringing together participants, supporters, families and friends, the Action 4: Freedom is… gathering is an opportunity to discuss and broaden awareness for West Papua as well as invite contributions for future Oceania Interrupted actions.

A limited edition Oceania Interrupted T-shirt has been designed by Cook Islands visual arts student, Katarina Katoa, who is currently completing a Bachelor of Creative Arts degree at Manukau Institute of Technology. Katatrina has undertaken the project as part of an internship for PIMPI and Oceania Interrupted; the t-shirts have been designed and hand screen-printed in Otara, South Auckland with support from the Faculty of Creative Arts. They’ll be for sale at Fresh Gallery Otara on Saturday 3 May from 5-7pm for NZD40. All proceeds raised go towards future Oceania Interrupted Actions.

Oceania Interrupted Action 4: Freedom is… | 5-7pm, Saturday 3 May | Fresh Gallery Otara


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