Posts tagged ‘Pacific Art’

The 2017 Pacific Dance Festival launched last night in Māngere, South Auckland with a showcase of new and recent works by five women choreographers, Ojeya Cruz Banks (Guam), Tepaeru-Ariki Lulu French (Cook Islands), Julia Mage’au Gray (Papua New Guinea), Losalio Milika Pusiaki (Tonga) and Tia Sagapolutele (Sāmoa). 

The poster, featuring an image by Julia Mage’au Gray, who features in the upcoming PIMPI Winter Series exhibition, Lovers Rock, reflects the refreshing regional diversity of this year’s programme. This image of the unique storied markings of Papua New Guinea tattoo on curving brown skin, juxtaposed against concrete and right-angles, is part of Mage’au Gray’s series, Mela out of context, made in response to her recent relocation from Darwin, Australia to Auckland.

The photographic element of Mage’au Gray’s practice was further explored in her choreographic work in the programme, Found Words. As a solo dance work, Mage’au Gray herself performed in response and harmony with a video projection of powerful stop-motion performances, and a moving audio track featuring the late, Dr Teresia Teaiwa reading her poetry, including her iconic, Fear of an Estuary…

Fear of an Estuary
By Teresia Teaiwa

I think I know what a coconut feels like after floating for so long in salt water
And suddenly entering an estuary
This sinking feeling I’m feeling it again
This sinking, sinking feeling

Have you ever heard of a coconut drowning?
I am afraid of estuaries
Somewhere told me they are rich feeding grounds for sharks
I’m not afraid of sharks
I am afraid of estuaries
If I were a coconut I would not want the ocean to meet a river
If I were a coconut you would be salt water
In calm or storm I could always float with you breathe in you until you met fresh water
And then I would sink, sink, sink

If I were a coconut and you were salt water
I would sink, sink, sink when you met fresh water
I would sink, sink, sink

But the wise one said I will not drown

© Teresia Teiawa

The voice and presence of Teresia Teaiwa, who passed away suddenly and tragically earlier this year, was triggering of so many tears. I was left reflecting again on the deep impact Teresia made on the writing and thinking about Oceania and what a privilege it was to know her. I was left with salty tears, and Teresia’s words – We sweat and cry salt water, so we know that the ocean is really in our blood (Teresia Teaiwa, As quoted in Hauʻofa, Epeli. We are the Ocean: Selected Works. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2008).

The large scale projection screen at Māngere Arts Centre was ideal to experience Ojeya Cruz Banks‘ short dance film, Tåno’ shot on location in Guåhan/Guam. Her words, representing a Chamorro and Micronesian perspective, and the solo dancer’s arching body in crackling, shady vegetation, with a tar seal highway and the ocean in the background, shot almost as if from the point of view of the forest, made this work mesmerising to watch.

Tai Akaki by Tepaeru-Ariki Lulu French evoked the ocean in beautiful, waves of movement and rhythm, deep hues of blue in lighting and textures. The work spoke to the urgency of rising sea levels and the connectedness of our Islands with a pan-Oceania vocabulary of movement.

Photo courtesy of Raymond Sagapolutele

Tia Sagapolutele’s work, Ave was a force! Part Parris Goebelesque fierceness blended with the grace, awareness and sometimes awkardness of negotiating Sāmoan culture, its practices, stories and boundaries. An energising, heart thumping mash-up of siva Sāmoa, voguing, badass formations and brown girl magic!

Photo courtesy of Raymond Sagapolutele

The final performance of the night was a Tongan extravaganza! Choreographer, Losalio Milika Pusiaki, bought an intergenerational, feast of epic whole-community proportions! I loved it! All colour, no compromise on the length and presence of each component of the story. The men danced, the women danced, the children danced; the costumes from hair comb to ankle ornamentation were exquisite. There is no doubt, Tongans don’t do things by halves. I felt so close to this work, seeing traces of the relationship between Fiji and Tonga, in movement and regalia, in its truth and connectedness between past, present and future.

Photo courtesy of Raymond Sagapolutele

Thank you to Pacific Dance New Zealand; this opening night was uplifting, inspiring and moving. I’m not someone who engages much in the world of dance, but having this festival here in Manukau, South Auckland, and being able to support and share space with these brave creatives, dancers, storytellers and musicians, it means a lot.

Vinaka vakalevu!

Don’t miss out – tickets still available here!

Leave a comment

Hello, my name is Vinesh opens this weekend at Lime Espresso Bar & Eatery as the first exhibition of the 2017 PIMPI Winter Series. Photographer, Vinesh Kumaran and I have been working together on projects for more than a decade!

The first exhibition I produced with Vinesh’s work was called (Re)Locating Home, a group show that was  staged in Suva, Fiji and at Fresh Gallery Ōtara in 2006. Vinesh’s work was a single wall-mounted image and a beautiful book of photographs documenting a highly personal journey retracing his family’s historical migration from India to Fiji and on to South Auckland. I witnessed his work drawing people in, sharing insights to a journey many would only dream of.

Vinesh and I have since collaborated on photographs for exhibitions, public display, publications and online galleries, but this is the first time we’ve made an exhibition about photographs Vinesh took on an iPhone!

Hello, my name is Vinesh is a title devised over a few drinks with Vinesh, designer Edgar Melitao and curator Nigel Borell. The original concept for the exhibition was developed for Māngere Arts Centre but the exhibition didn’t eventuate. Using the impressive artistic direction of Edgar Melitao and a tag team of curators, we had hoped to help Vinesh realise this important project in the most beautiful way, symbolically in the neighbourhood he grew up in.

One year on, Hello, my name is Vinesh has been re-born, produced by just me, but informed by those initial brainstorms with the Vinesh Kumaran dream team! This special show breathes life into the 2017 PIMPI Winter Series as the first exhibition of the series. It is a complete privilege to help see this exhibition come to life and we are both super grateful for the support of the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board.

Hello, my name is Vinesh opens at 6pm on Saturday 17 June and runs from Monday – Friday, 7am – 3pm and Saturdays, 9am – 2pm, until Friday 7 July at Lime Espresso Bar & Eatery, 507 Great South Road, Ōtāhuhu, South Auckland.

Leave a comment

 

Hello, my name is Vinesh is a solo exhibition by Māngere-based photographer, Vinesh Kumaran. Starting in 2014, Vinesh challenged himself to make a portrait a day for 365 days. The project became an obsession that led him to explore and engage with his landscape and communities in new ways every day. His approach would always start with, Hello… my name is Vinesh.

In the first exhibition of the 2017 PIMPI Winter Series, Vinesh presents 74 portraits from the series, along with the stories and insights shared between photographer and subject at the moment the photograph was made. Using Instagram as a platform to upload and share the portraits, Vinesh connected the project and the people to another audience, who readily added to the narrative of each photograph with commentary and tags.

Although Vinesh has exhibited widely in New Zealand, and also in Fiji, Hello, my name is Vinesh is the artist’s first solo exhibition.

About the artist

Vinesh Kumaran was born and raised in the small rural town of Ba, Fiji and the South Auckland suburb of Mangere, New Zealand.

Pursuing a Bachelor of Visual Arts enabled his first foray into photography. His graduate work documented a highly personal journey retracing his family’s historical migration from India to Fiji and on to New Zealand. The experience helped form an acute awareness of the power of the lens and the position of the photographer.

Four years at art school gave Vinesh a strong technical and critical perspective on the discipline of photography as well as a deep respect for portraiture. After graduating, he dove enthusiastically into the world of commercial photography learning with every opportunity. Committed and determined, Vinesh has established an impressive reputation and worked on notable national and international campaigns in Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

Vinesh has established long term relationships within the arts and cultural sectors in South Auckland, which have enabled a number of opportunities to explore and develop his portraiture portfolio. From promotional to editorial and gallery-based photography, Vinesh treats portraiture as a collaboration ultimately capturing a moment of connection.

Check out more work by Vinesh Kumaran here.

Hello, my name is Vinesh

OPENING: 6pm, Saturday 17 June
Hello, my name is… // Speed Networking Night: 6pm, Saturday 1 July
EXHIBITION: 19 June – 7 July 

logos

Leave a comment

The Perpetual Flux of Transitional Otherness presents 15 new works by Margaret Aull, Leilani Kake and Ema Tavola. The exhibition runs from 6 March – 1 April 2017 at Olly, 537 Mt Eden Road, Mt Eden, Auckland.

1. Poedua, Papua Merdeka
Ink, watercolour on acid free paper
297x420mm
Ema Tavola
SOLD
2. Swallow Orange (A/P, edition of 2)
Digital print
420x594mm
Leilani Kake
SOLD
SOLD
3. Black Sam
Mixed media on board
400x400mm
Margaret Aull
SOLD
4. Swallow Pink (A/P, edition of 2)
Digital print
420x594mm
Leilani Kake
A/P SOLD
2/2 available
5. Ika
Mixed media on board
300x300mm
Margaret Aull
$390
6. Poedua Addiction
Ink, watercolour on acid free paper
297x420mm
Ema Tavola
SOLD
7. Poedua for Gus (pronounced Goos)
Ink, watercolour on acid free paper
297x420mm
Ema Tavola
SOLD
8. Black Sam and his mates
Collage, acrylic ink on board
400x400mm
Margaret Aull
$390
9. Swallow Blue (A/P, edition of 2)
Digital print
420x594mm
Leilani Kake
A/P SOLD
2/2 available
10. Poedua, Galbraith Building
Ink, watercolour on acid free paper
297x420mm
Ema Tavola
SOLD
11. Kev
Mixed media on board
Margaret Aull
SOLD
12. Swallow Green (A/P, edition of 2)
Digital print
420x594mm
Leilani Kake
A/P SOLD
2/2 available
13. Poedua O.G
Ink, watercolour on acid free paper
297x420mm
Ema Tavola
$390
14. Swallow Yellow (A/P, edition of 2)
Digital print
420x594mm
Leilani Kake
$300
15. KARE
Collage, acrylic ink on canvas
700x700mm
Margaret Aull

IMG_3676
$1,100

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Leave a comment

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!

Save

Save

2 Comments

South Auckland-based photographer Emily Mafile’o is currently crowdfunding to support the costs associated with staging an impressive large scale solo exhibition at Mangere Arts Centre – Nga Tohu o Uenuku due to open next month. I’ve made a small donation and want to encourage everyone to consider supporting this great project. I got in touch with Emily to find out more…

Emily, I can’t believe we’ve known each other for 15 years! In that time we have both seen lots of change and growth… I’m still fighting for the cause but I’ve learned a lot along the way from the wars I waged in my fiery twenties! And you have consistently, and quietly, been documenting and producing series upon series of photographic work about the Tongan space, famili and cultural connectedness. Thinking back, it has been a real privilege to see your practice evolve. Have there been key events or shifts in your thinking that have inspired you to keep making? 

Malo ‘aupito. It has been a journey of ups and downs, but my love for documenting my people has kept me going. I believe a key event for me was when I finally became comfortable / secure with who I am, my cultural identity, and I have my photography to thank for that. It allowed me to find this space / va, place.

I also need to acknowledge my sister Vea. She is the person who has kept pushing me over the years, especially when I would question my practice or I didn’t think I had the right or ability to keep going.

It is important to me that we take responsibility in documenting our own culture, it is also important for me to keep fighting for photography in Contemporary Tongan Art.

On a more intimate thought and one that is a pure passion, the documentation of my people who are often not valued in being documented. My people behind the scenes or who are brushed under the fala. My people who choose to live outside of what it is considered to be the ‘norm’ in Tongan culture.

It’s the celebration of what it is to be a Tongan in 2017. The many different people that make up the Tongan culture.

I’m so excited to see the work in your upcoming exhibition, Tonga’s Strength-Hold Is Its Heart opening at Mangere Arts Centre next month. I worked with my Dad last year on an exhibition project that took me back to our village for the first time in 10 years and it was the most personal, most meaningful project I’ve ever produced. Like so many of your projects, I had the opportunity to work with my sister and involve our children and it really felt like my creative practice was playing a role in bringing the family together and creating an archive of our past, present, and future. What was it like working with your Dad on this project?

My Dad, Saia Mafile’o is someone in my life who I find interesting, frustrating, adore and at times totally crazy, but I love him dearly. Vea and I are extremely lucky with our famili and their support with our creative projects. My famili and Dad are all used to either Vea or I having a camera with us. This trip to Tonga with our father, which included all of my immediate siblings and our children was the first time in many years we had all stayed under one roof with him. It was extremely precious. It was also crazy as Vea was also filming her documentary Paper Run on Dad too. It was filled with lots of bittersweet moments for our famili.

It should also be pointed out that my Mother and my Step Dad Robert also go to great lengths to support us with our creative practices, we are extremely lucky.

A solo show is a lot of work – congratulations on harnessing the energy, inspiration and drive to take up the opportunity! We’ve talked about the sacrifices that artists often make to manifest their ideas, and I’ve seen you time and time again put in mad hours, invest so much personal resource and go above and beyond for your practice and those you’ve supported. How much has gone into this solo show?

Anything I work on consumes me. All my energy from the moment I decided to do the project goes into it. Writing up the project, the prep before going to Tonga, making the funds to get there and during our time in Tonga. Vea and I have always worked on several projects at a time when we are in Tonga, as it is a huge luxury, gift, opportunity and financial sacrifice to be there. So balancing out time amongst our projects and famili is extremely important. For me personally, it is also conserving my energy and making sure I use to the best of my ability due to my SLE. I have made / make personally, sacrifices over the years for my art practice in regards to how I live life, my poor son included.

The times I’ve seen Mangere Arts Centre filled with energy and life is when the community brings it; I know your exhibition will hold meaning and mana with so many local audiences here in South Auckland. What are your hopes for the show?

That it brings my Tongan people in the doors. That it makes my father, my famili and my people proud. That it shows an intimate form of contemporary Tongan photography, not the ‘normal’ documentation of an event. It is my father, my famili and my experiences at Toloa.

Thank you Emily, for your time and your work. This project holds so much meaning and mana and I want to encourage as many people as possible to consider donating to your crowdfunding campaign to support your printing costs!

Malo ‘aupito, ‘aupito Ema.

Donating is easy on the Boosted platform and every dollar counts! Check it out here…

Click here to donate!

Leave a comment

Benjamin Work

Ikai Ha To’a ‘E Tu’u Tokotaha (No Man Is An Island) (2016)
500mm (Diameter), Acrylic on Cradled Wood Panel

Benjamin Work is a South Auckland-based artist of Tongan (Tu’anekivale, Vava’u) and Scottish heritage. He has a solid grounding in aerosol painting with his initial creative output centred around sub/ pop-cultural influences that emerged from North America in the 1970s – 1980s. Since then, Benjamin’s bold visual language references historical narratives, design elements and semiotics particular to Tongan culture. His diverse practice reflects the ‘here and now’. His work engages with the current cultural, political and social context of Auckland, Aotearoa and with contemporary local and international art and design contexts. Work has exhibited in a number of group and solo exhibitions including:

For King and Country, Bergman Gallery, Rarotonga, Cook Islands; The Glorious Children of te Tumu – Salisbury International Arts Festival, England; For King and Country – Ma’ae Tu’i o e Fonua, Māngere Arts Centre; Post-Graffiti Pacific, aMBUSH Gallery, Sydney; Toutouta, Olivia Laita Gallery, Auckland; I See Red I See Red I See Red, Fresh Gallery, Auckland; If These Walls Could Talk, Imperial Lane, Auckland and TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre, Auckland; Louder – The Serigraph Pop-Up Exhibition, Studio 40, Auckland; Primary Flight: Art Basel, Miami, USA.

More info: benjaminwork.tumblr.com/

banner

Save

Save

Leave a comment

Siufaga Catholic Church / Ladies in Church, April 2016
Digital prints, 297x420mm, framed

blue-haapai-church-sm

Ha’apai Church (2013)
Digital prints, 297x420mm, framed

Vea Mafile’o (Tongan/Maori/Scottish/English) has produced installation art and exhibited extensively throughout the Pacific. She is a  director on television productions such as “Fresh”, “Tagata Pasifika” and the web series “coconettv”. She produced and directed short films, which includes award winning `Aho`eitu at the Sydney Film festival 2015 and selections for Malorilands and the Hawaiian International film festival 2016. She had art directed many short films in including 6 x short films which were Peter Jackson wild card winners for the 48hour competition and Feature film ‘Finding Honk’. In 2011 Vea was nominated for the prestigious International Signature Art Prize (SAPB) .Her work Monomono2.0 was exhibited at the prestigious Venice Biennale 2015.

banner

Leave a comment

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
2 Comments

It’s the last few days of the PIMPI Winter Series, an experimental series of pop-up exhibitions produced in partnership with Big Willie Legacy Barber & Tattoo Studio on Auckland’s Mt Eden Road. The last day of the current show is THIS Saturday 12 September there are six works left for sale, check them out…

Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik | Noodles
420 x 594mm, Colour Accent Print on 200gsm Fuji Film Satin Finish paper (Edition of 2)

$450 [Framed]
Waiora Palalagi

… for the paper (2015)
610 x 910mm, oil on canvas
$780
Niutuiatua Lemalu

stella fella’ | is there dirt beneath the dirt?
Both 550 x 760mm, oil on canvas
$650
Niutuiatua Lemalu

MALE – Maori or Polynesian (2015)
915 x 760 x 25mm, lenticular print (Edition of 1)
$1950
Leilani Kake

** All prices in New Zealand dollars, payment via cash, bank deposit or PayPal only.
** Artwork available for collection 4pm, Saturday 12 September.

Artwork enquiries

Leave a comment
%d bloggers like this: