Posts tagged ‘Pacific Art’

Writing media releases is not a strength of mine. I’ve had the privilege of working with some excellent marketing heads in the past; they’ve taken my words and created digestible, broad appeal information that gives mainstream mana to projects which generally sit comfortably within the margins.

Producing a series of exhibitions in a non-conventional, central Auckland commercial space, with an agenda of selling art and engaging broad and diverse audiences, on a minimal budget, has forced me out of my comfort zone. These exhibitions couldn’t exist ‘comfortably within the margins’; they needed to be translated, positioned, re-valued… or did they?

As the PIMPI Winter Series has rolled out, the deeper purpose and complexity of what I set out to do has revealed itself to me day by day, online and off, in conversations and silent observations. In this space between commerce and creativity, the perceived margins and the centre, where skin is marked and hair is cut, the exhibitions are encountered largely unintentionally by wandering eyes, passers by, social media followers and waiting mates, spouses and children.

Partner in the PIMPI Winter Series, and owner of Big Willie Legacy Barber & Tattoo Studio, Stan Lolohea, has challenged and invigorated my thinking at every stage. Outside of the conventions of an art gallery, who are these shows for? And does increasing the net of general awareness create more genuine interest? Does an exhibition grow the scope, care and engagement between audiences, groups… does it facilitate understanding, conversation and debate across class, race, gender divides?

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It got deep at @bigwillielegacy_barber_tattoo tonight! 🌊 Stan, Leilani and I installed "That's not #PacificArt", the second group show I've curated for the #PIMPIWinterSeries featuring new and recent work by Faafeu Kapeneta, Ana Lakusa, Qingze Nan and Genevieve Pini. My mind is still short-circuiting around issues of who buys, appreciates, promotes (Pacific) art, the constructed spaces that (re)define meaning, value… The money making secrets and lies around what art / artists are seen to be successful… what's the value of producing Pacific art exhibitions in a barber and tattoo studio in Mt Eden, when will Leilani and I ever open our art gallery slash art school?! So much meat (beef?), so little time! Tomorrow night join us for a drink, good music by DJ Skeez, and a reeeeelax! No heavy chit chat, just a kick back… 6-8pm, 159 Mt Eden Road, Central Awkland 🍷

A post shared by Ema Tavola (@colourmefiji) on

 

I’ve found producing these exhibitions so completely refreshing, a total love-project with no funding, but built on the back of a strong forgiving partnership (vinaka vakalevu Stan), and carried by my family, who have shared the load (malo ‘aupito Taka, Si’i, Lini, Tu’i). I had found myself working from funding round to funding round, writing late night proposals, planning, pitching, failing… I needed to get back to the grassroots of what I love to do and flex my curatorial muscle.

DIY curating is a full To Do list most days, but the hosting, promo, multiple trips to Warehouse Stationary, the framers, finding excellent deals on good wine, getting my earth-thrills from using corn-based bioplastic cups… I’ve loved it all! But mostly, it has been a privilege to gently hustle these 12 talented and clever artists, facilitating sales for many of them, instigating new work and fresh thinking.

I’m grateful for the partnerships, support and online engagement that has pushed out the potential of these shows. To those who have bought work – thank you, and to those who have given their time and skills: Lana Lopesi, Ralph Brown, Sean Atavenitia for South Auckland Photography, Sangeeta Singh, Leilani Kake – I’m deeply grateful. Thanks also to the residents of Big Willie Legacy Barber & Tattoo Studio, Duss, Damian and Willy – I’ve been totally inspired watching you work!

The Private Views / Opening receptions for the PIMPI Winter Series have been too cool. Eclectic, diverse audiences… family, friends, colleagues, locals, South Aucklanders too! To those who travel from near and far to support these artists – thank you so much! It means a lot. Check out this badass video by South Auckland Photography:

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Here’s an interview Stan and I did with Radio New Zealand reporter, Justin Gregory, aired on Friday 7 August:

 

And there’s still ONE MORE SHOW to go!

Please join us from 6pm on Thursday 27 August at Big Willie Legacy Barber & Tattoo Studio, 159 Mt Eden Road, central Auckland to mark the opening of Know what I mean, jellybean? featuring new and recent work by Leilani Kake, Niutuiatua Lemalu, Waiora Palalagi and Pati Solomona Tyrell – all work is for sale!

Click-Click-Follow on Instagram and Facebook for real time happenings!

Amelia (2013)
Ana Lakusa
940x1845mm
Oil on board
NZD$1200

Check this work out in That’s not Pacific Art, the second of three exhibitions that make up the inaugural PIMPI Winter Series. The exhibition opens Thursday 6 August and runs until Wednesday 26 August at Big Willie Legacy Barber & Tattoo Studio, 159 Mt Eden Road, central Auckland.

This large scale oil painting is part of Ana Lakusa’s 2013 graduate series, From Heaven to Hell inspired by Ganglands, an American documentary series that profiled Polynesian gang life in Salt Lake City (USA). The works draw on the blurred lines between church, organised religion, loyalty, identity, family and gangsterism.

Exhibition and Artwork Enquiries

Siliga David Setoga, 2014

Oki fa’akama Samoa moni lou ulu / Cut your hair like a true Samoan boy (2015)
Siliga David Setoga
Photography by Setoga Setoga II (2014)
Edition of 5
1000x800mm
Inkjet print on Hahnemühle Matt FineArt paper
NZD$2400

Check this work out in U Can’t Touch This, the first of three exhibitions that make up the inaugural PIMPI Winter Series opening Thursday 16 July at Big Willie Legacy Barber & Tattoo Studio, 159 Mt Eden Road, central Auckland.

Siliga David Setoga has just been announced as the 2015 recipient of the Creative New Zealand Artist Residency at the National University of Samoa. Read more here.

Artwork Enquiries

Sione Monu is a Canberra-based visual artist whose first exhibition will be U Can’t Touch This, part of the PIMPI Winter Series at Big Willie Legacy Barber & Tattoo Studio. We connected on Instagram, then via email and later in person. I asked him a few questions about his work and ideas…

I came across your work via the Pacific Photobooks project – it looked like a really great opportunity to learn and network with some cool Pacific image makers. How did that experience influence your practice?

Pacific Photobooks was very major for me in networking and learning from Pacific image makers definitely. It was a series of workshops every Saturday in Sydney for Pacific Islander youth to learn from established artists of Pacific decent. We were taught how to use manual on our SLR cameras which I was surprised at how much we can manipulate how the picture comes out before even editing it on Photoshop! It was great. Also being surrounded by Poly artists and listening to them talk about their practice was very inspiring and opened my eyes to the possibilities for us young Poly artists.

Your Instagram is this beautiful archive of your work and experiences, and your selfie game is on point! Do you see digital self-portraiture as a screen-based practice? I’m wondering, do you think something is lost when these images get printed and presented as tangible things?

I love how you put it in your recent blog post where you describe my Instagram as a “gentle insight into Tongan experience in Australia’s capital city.” I’ve always been shy and introverted growing up so Instagram has been this incredible thing for me to express myself and connect with people I wouldn’t have otherwise. Definitely, digital self-portraiture as a screen-based practice seems a natural progression to me especially being part of this technological generation, the possibilities are endless. I do feel something is lost when images are printed and put on a wall, behind another wall, behind a glass door. Too many walls for my liking I think haha! Though I’m sure it’s not so black and white but I just love how accessible Instagram is. I’ve connected with so many people from so many different demographics! All this from a little “selfie” app! It’s really amazing.

I’m so glad that your work is having its first showing in Aotearoa at Big Willie Legacy Barber & Tattoo Studio for the PIMPI Winter Series! You came to Auckland recently and seemed to get a lot done! What were your impressions of the city?

Yes! I’m super excited also! My first ever exhibition! I was recently in Auckland for a great uncle’s funeral. After the funeral I contacted as many Pacific Islander artists based in Auckland that I follow on Instagram for meet ups. I had a good talk with you and Stan over a coffee and coconut ice cream which was fabulous. I got to meet many other artists based in Auckland who I admire very much. It’s been a roller-coaster ride of experiences even now I’m still trying to process it all! Auckland city was alright I guess but south Auckland really has stolen my heart. My morning runs up the local mountains was definitely one of my favourite things about my stay.  I’m actually looking to move over in the near future, and just find my own little space in this beautiful land. Thank the universe for my parents never changing my citizenship to Australian! So I’m still a kiwi y’all! Haha!

You seem to have a big Insta-fan-base with the Pacific arts community – I think there’s a general feeling that your work is fresh to death! I’m excited to see where your practice will take you, but I’m wondering, what’s your big picture, what would be your ideal art future?

My female cousins taught me early the fine art of Instagram/Facebook stalking. But I would spend my stalking sessions stalking Pacific arts people! Haha! And now I have many Pacific arts community followers thanks to my stalking skills, which is nice. What’s my big picture? Well I have keen interests in so many mediums so I’ll just keep sharing my designs, photographs, videos clips, fashion illustrations, with the world through Instagram until the universe says what’s next I guess. As for my art future, something that incorporates all my interests would be a long shot… but a girl can dream!

“King George Tupou was here #2”, one of three illustrations for sale in “U Can’t Touch This”

U Can’t Touch This
16 July – 1 August
Private View
6-8pm, Thursday 16 July
Featuring
Talafungani Finau, Sione Monu, Siliga David Setoga, Daisy Tavilione

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: (09) 630 4380 / bigwillie.barber.tattoo.studio@gmail.com

Exhibition & Artwork Enquiries:

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

Luisa Tora has been busy finishing her Bachelor of Creative Arts at Manukau Institute of Technology in South Auckland. But in the past 18 months she has also shown at St Paul St Gallery, Fresh Gallery Otara and OTARAwindow (which was also featured in the NZ Herald here), at Nathan Homestead, in a pop-up exhibition for the Auckland Pride Festival at Pitt Street Methodist Church, in a poster exhibition for IDAHOT, undertaken an internship with Auckland Museum AND had her work purchased for the Te Papa Tongarewa permanent collection!

Whilst developing on a new work for Between Wind and Water, Luisa slipped in another exhibition: The Drowned World curated by Daniel Michael Satele for Tautai Trust. As part of her enquiry into her village’s origin story and totemic relationship with the shark, Luisa worked with Fijian artist, Joana Monolagi, to create a salusalu [garland; lei] from laser cut Perspex. Read more here.

For Between Wind and Water, Luisa has developed a new and experimental installation entitled, Naqalotu: Na qalo tu.

‘Na qalo tu’ celebrates the central role of vasu and the ocean in my life. It profiles the strong, beautiful females who sustain, influence and inspire me. This offering merges the narratives of my village, Naqalotu’s origin story; our ika, the shark; and my vasu support system.

Luisa will discuss her work as part of a special panel discussion on Wednesday 21 January at Enjoy Public Art Gallery. Guest speakers Kaliopate Tavola (Fiji) and Milena Palka (WWF New Zealand), will speak to the wider themes of Fijian identity and totemic relationships, and the protection and state of shark populations in the Pacific.

When

Naqalotu: Na qalo tu – A panel discussion on new work by Luisa Tora
5.30pm, Wednesday 21 January

The residency of Between Wind and Water artists will take place from 10-24 January; 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

Leilani Kake has become known for powerful video installations that document family, ritual, cultural transmission and taboo. For Between Wind and Water, the upcoming exhibition and summer residency at Wellington’s Enjoy Public Art Gallery, she presents a new and exploratory work entitled, MALE – Māori or Polynesian .

Employing lenticular printing as a new and experimental medium, the work begins to unpack her recent research into narratives of cultural identity and incarceration,stereotypes of criminality and the dichotomies of criminal/victim, brother/other.

This work stems from personal discussions and reflections of friends and family who are currently going through or have recently been through the New Zealand judicial system. I’m interested in how the over-representation of Māori and Polynesian men in New Zealand prisons affects the way our wider communities are represented visually in New Zealand society.

In a specially developed participatory component of the work, Leilani has created suspect flip books inviting audiences of all ages to create and hand-draw their own suspects! The drawings will be added to the exhibition and displayed until 31 January.

Leilani Kake will discuss her new work, research and contexts at an Artist Talk on Thursday 15 January – all welcome!

When

Artist Talk: Leilani Kake
5.30pm, Thursday 15 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

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

 

BWAW promo graphic v11

I’m excited to be producing my first arts project in Wellington next year! Entitled Between Wind and Water, the project includes an exhibition of new work by Tanu Gago, Leilani Kake and Luisa Tora, and a series of six events at Enjoy Public Art Gallery, where we’ll be collectively undertaking a two week residency from 10-24 January 2015.

Between Wind and Water is timed to coincide with the annual Positively Pasifika Festival in an effort to leverage off Wellington City Council’s civic celebration of Pacific cultures and communities. The project aims to attract and engage new Pacific audiences and symbolically centralise Pacific perspectives on contemporary art, interpretation and value.

An exhibition of new works by three South Auckland based artists provides the context for a series of talks, gatherings and activities offering audiences opportunities to discuss the artworks, themes, and wider context of making [and curating] art of and about Pacific experience in Aotearoa New Zealand.

BWAW Artists1

New media artist Tanu Gago has attracted significant attention for his staged photographs that reframe masculinity, sexual identity and cultural privilege. His video works are digital landscapes of new Polynesian pop culture, ‘ghetto narratives’ from 21st century South Auckland. Leilani Kake’s powerful video installations document family, ritual, cultural transmission and taboo. In a new and exploratory work, MALE – Māori or Polynesian, she begins to unpack stereotypes of criminality and the dichotomies of criminal/victim, brother/other. In Luisa Tora’s multidisciplinary practice, she employs visual codes and cultural references to interrogate historical and embedded power dynamics, value and values. Her installation, Naqalotu: Na qalo tu is informed by the origin story from her village in Kadavu (Fiji), symbolic relationships between people, histories, land and sea.

When one is between wind and water, they are said to be in a precarious or vulnerable position. Twenty years after Jim Vivieaere’s seminal show, Bottled Ocean, this exhibition project aims to stir the murky waters of contemporary Pacific art politics broaching issues of labels, positioning and expectations, diversity quotas, criticism and growth for Pacific art and artists in a post-identity era.

Public Programme Events

Pacific vs Art: A Discussion on Curating Pacific Art
Join writer-curators Ioana Gordon-Smith, Daniel Michal Satele and Between Wind and Water curator, Ema Tavola, in a spirited discussion facilitated by Sean Mallon, on Pacific art and the politics of engagement.
Time: 5.30pm
Date: Wednesday 14 January

Artist Talk: Leilani Kake
Exhibiting artist, Leilani Kake discusses the themes and inspiration for her new work, MALE – Māori or Polynesian, within the wider context of her video installation practice.
Time: 5.30pm
Date: Thursday 15 January

Oceania Interrupted: Empowering Collective Action – Meet & Greet
Meet members of Auckland-based collective, Oceania Interrupted, visiting Wellington to undertake the 8th of 15 Actions to raise awareness for West Papua.
Time: 5.30pm
Date: Friday 16 January

Naqalotu: Na qalo tu – A panel discussion on new work by Luisa Tora
Exhibiting artist, Luisa Tora will discuss her new work and themes along with guest speakers, Kaliopate Tavola (Kaidravuni.wordpress.com) on Fijian identity and totemic relationships, and Milena Palka (Marine Species Advocate, WWF) on shark populations and protection in the Pacific.
Time: 5.30pm
Date: Wednesday 21 January

Artist Talk: Tanu Gago
Exhibiting artist, Tanu Gago discuss the themes and inspiration for his new exploratory video work, The Sound of the Ocean.
Time: 5.30pm
Date: Thursday 22 January

BWAW Futures Forum
What does an ideal future look like for Pacific people in Aotearoa and Oceania? A series of quick-fire utopian dream talks from diverse Pacific perspectives, including Dr Teresia Teaiwa, Fuimaono Karl Pulotu-Endemann, Faith Wilson and more!
Time: 2pm
Date: Saturday 24 January
* This is the last event in the Between Wind and Water Summer Residency; closing drinks will follow this event.

Get involved

  • Draw a Suspect!
    Based on Leilani Kake’s new work, MALE – Māori or Polynesian, visitors are invited to create a hand-drawn suspect drawing from some interesting and familiar faces!
  • Between Wind and Water Publication
    Content for an exhibition publication will be generated throughout the residency; observations, photos, drawings and commentary from visitors will feature alongside extracts from dialogue events and extended artist statements. Meet and chat with the artists in the Gallery on most days between 10-24 January.

Dates

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.

Venue

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

 

fresh art logo full

FRESH ART MARKET is a lively pop-up market day presenting a diverse range of creative practice and free public programme events at South Auckland’s notorious Fresh Gallery Otara!

The event draws together a diverse range of creative practitioners from fine artists to activists, object makers and writers to fashion designers. With everything priced to sell, FRESH ART MARKET is an ideal one stop shop for conscious, hand-made, locally designed gifts and treats!

Stall holders include: Czarina Wilson Design, Leah Espie Photography, Tui Gillies, Luisa Tora and Molly Rangiwai-McHale, Tepora Malo, The Roots Creative Entrepreneurs and more!

Throughout the day, a series of public programme events will take place alongside the Market:

From 9-10am, join visiting arts manager, Dian Ika Gesuri for an inspiring discussion on what Auckland can learn from harnessing creativity, community, collaboration, innovation and commerce, introducing some amazing models of creative entrepreneurship that contribute to social change in the city of Bandung, Indonesia.

At 11am, check out a series of short films including Luisa Tora’s “Home Videos” (2013) and join the film makers for a Q&A.

From 1-2pm, exhibiting artists Sam Afu and ‘Ahota’e’iloa Toetu’u are delivering a free painting workshop inspired by their current exhibition, Ua gau le sila, tuku ki Manono on at Fresh Gallery Otara until 21 December.

Keep an eye on the Facebook event page for updates and specials or send us an enquiry here:

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