Posts tagged ‘Photography’

“Mātua” (2015) by Pati Solomona Tyrell

Pati Solomona Tyrell is in the midst of a surge of interest in his work and ideas; his practice as an emerging lens-based artist is evolving with every opportunity to perform, present and articulate his position. For Lovers Rock, the final show of the 2017 PIMPI Winter Series, Pati has contributed a work that speaks to things that keep him grounded…

Congratulations on so many great achievements in your practice – a mega solo show at ST PAUL St Gallery, work in the 2017 Pacific Dance Festival, performances in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and an upcoming season of your solo work, Fa’aafa at Basement Theatre! How do you stay grounded and what keeps you well?

I like to get away from Auckland for a weekend and spend time with my family in Hamilton. I am always at peace when I am at home, something about sharing space/time with my family is healing, it refuels my energy and silences the business of big shows. There is nothing like talks from your parents to remind you what is important in life and bring your mind to a focus. Also a good feed of mum’s Sunday To’onai cooking keeps me well. LOL.

Your portraiture practice is a collaborative act with the subject of your photographs; as the photographer, what does that process feel like, to create an image, a representation, and what is considered in selecting a final image?

Collaboration is a sacred space for me. Images have power and #RepresentationMatters. When photographing others I understand that I am capturing more than a just portrait, I am capturing their identity, stories and mana. I think it’s important to give time to sit with people to ask what they are comfortable with and what would make the environment an unsafe place for them to practice.

Collaboration for me is about reciprocity, a constant sharing of energy, ideas and trust. I know this is an uncommon practice for photographers but for me it is important that the people I photograph are involved in each stage of image making, from the birth of the concept, the production process to the selection of the final image.

In terms of the kaupapa of Lovers Rock as the observance of unapologetic, radical self love, what does self love mean for you and where does it sit within your practice?

I’m a fat, hairy, femme, queer Sāmoan. Unapologetic, radical self love is me reminding myself on the daily that these descriptions are not negative. We are constantly fed images of what we should look like, what is beautiful, what is desirable, it’s fucking toxic. Unapologetic and radical self love is protection, and rejecting these media constructed ideas of existing. Being unapologetic is an important part of my practice, I am always putting myself in front of the camera, using my body to portray and challenge ideas, opening myself up to be critiqued not only by others but from myself as well. 

Your work “Mātua” in Lovers Rock features your parents, and as a relatively new parent myself, I feel like that environment of love and nurturing we create for our children, particularly in the early years, is such a vital foundation for life and for self love. Tell me about this work…

Mātua for me was an exploration of my identity. I was learning about living in the space between in my gender, culture, geography and time. This is a celebration of starting to be comfortable with myself and where I sit in the world. Understanding that I navigate a space that isn’t traditionally male or female. Understanding that I am a gift of my mother and father. Understanding that learning about my Sāmoan culture is a life journey and to not give myself so much shit about it. This work for me represents a lot of learning I am doing which I do with the full support of my parents who love me.

Mātua has been produced as a limited edition of A1 size (594x841mm) poster prints for Lovers Rock. The edition of 25 are priced at NZ$100 each. The exhibition is on at Lime Espresso Bar & Eatery, 507 Great South Road, Ōtāhuhu, South Auckland until 19 August.

Interested in purchasing a copy? Get in touch with Ema Tavola (Curator) here:


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 


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!

Red Tape (2014) by Anita Jacobsen, 500x500mm, C type print, framed.

Red Tape (2014) by Anita Jacobsen, 500x500mm, C type print, framed.

Red Tape

C type print, framed

Raised in Papakura, South Auckland, Anita Jacobsen is an Auckland-based photographer of Norwegian and Samoan descent.

In 2009 Anita completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in photography at Whitecliffe College of Art & Design, she then went on to gain a Master of Fine Arts from Whitecliffe in 2014. Anita has exhibited nationally and internationally. She was a finalist in the 22nd Annual Wallace Art Awards in 2013 and in the same year was a finalist in the Auckland Festival of Photography, and was selected for the Pingyao International Festival of Photography, in Shanxi China.

Sourced from Tautai Trust Artist Profile, read more here:







Home: InsideOut (2016)
Digial print, Hahnemühle FineArt paper, 841 x1189mm, unframed

Home What is; seen & not seen, shared / not shared, private / public, comfortable and uncomfortable, right / wrong, appropriate and inappropriate, culturally acceptable & culturally offensive, socially desirable or socially outcast, parental approval or parental shame…

Emily Mafile’o (Tongan / Maori / Scottish).
South Auckland proud, originates from H-town.
Influenced by Nan Goldin, Mafile’o photographs what she sees and experiences; her world. She explores the idea of time/ta, space/va and personality. She seeks to evaluate the mundane/ ordinary, creating a chance for talanoa…







Vineyard (2015) by Faafeu Kapeneta

Faafeu Kapeneta presents three striking new photographic works in That’s not Pacific Art, the second exhibition in the PIMPI Winter Series opening Thursday 6 August at Big Willie Legacy Barber & Tattoo Studio. I asked him about that Tongan vineyard life…

Thank you for being the only South Islander in the PIMPI Winter Series! How did you end up living and working in Marlborough and how long have you been there?

Thank you Ema for the opportunity. Long story short, my family moved to Marlborough after visiting relatives for Christmas in 2005. We have been living here for nearly 10 years now after moving away from Wellington. I’ve  been here for about a year and a half now.

The Marlborough region conjures up images of quintessential New Zealand landscapes and vineyards… the stuff of tourism billboards. Whilst Otara, South Auckland is perhaps the polar opposite of that world, there’s a similarity in the work you’re making now compared to what you made whilst living here during your degree studies. What are the things you like to capture that exist in both these disparate spaces?

I like the documentary approach to photography because I want my work to be raw and honest as it can be by not distracting the frame, purely observing and recording moments that gives people a very different Marlborough, a more grounded look at people who live and work here and not just the beautiful landscapes that the region is renowned for.

I’m thinking good jobs and limited big city distractions make working in Marlborough a pretty worthwhile opportunity for a lot of Pacific Islanders. What do you see as the benefits of working and living there, and are there things you miss or long for?

The most common thing that attracts a lot of Pacific Islanders to Marlborough was and still is the vineyard business. There are other jobs here and there but we, as Pacific Islanders living in Blenheim are renowned to be working out in the vineyards. In Marlborough, being a hot spot for tourism, you’ll likely see and meet a lot foreigners who come here for labour work. One of the benefits of living in Blenheim that I realised after moving back here was how it reminded me of my village in Tonga; countryside, quiet and slow pace lifestyle as opposed to the fast pace and noisy Auckland. There are couple of things I do miss though; the takeaways, access to Pacific Island foods such as taro or cassava and the Pacific art scene.

I’m so happy that this opportunity has inspired you to make some new work, I love what it adds to this exhibition, and to the wider PIMPI Winter Series. I’m wondering, what kind of things are on your art bucket list? What would you love to shoot, where would you love to show your work, and what kind of impact would you like your work to have?

In the near future I want to document some of the groups of Pacific Island workers who come here on a 3-6 months working Visa in the vineyards. I’m starting to look at landscape photography, and I’ve met quite a few foreigners and want to do some work with them. I want document other Pacific Island communities in other towns in the South Island and would love to show that work in South Auckland because I want people to know we exist and that you can make a good living in the smaller towns in the South Island.

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: /

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