Posts tagged ‘Wellington’

I wrote a response to the 2015 Summer Residency project, between wind and water, produced last year with artists Tanu Gago, Leilani Kake and Luisa Tora for Enjoy Public Art Gallery. The Third Enjoy Five Year Retrospective Catalogue is a beautifully produced, thoughtfully designed publication chartering the last five years of Enjoy’s impressive art history. Pick up a copy for NZD20 here.

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Gallery Notebook, Wellington High School (1999)

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what it would take to open my own gallery. I read a review of Peter McLeavey’s biography by Jill Trevelyan in an old Art New Zealand the other day, and it made me think about Peter McLeavey Gallery, and my first encounter with the space in 1999, aged 16.

Peter McLeavey passed away yesterday and I’ve been feeling heavy hearted because I suspect (like many people whose lives he touched) his influence may have steered my path clearly, and confidently, towards a life of art.

At 16, I was quite shy, but an art history assignment at Wellington High School required students to visit local galleries in order to write reviews and observations in a Gallery Notebook. I remember going to Janne Land Gallery, City Gallery Wellington and Photospace once or twice, but I returned to Peter McLeavey Gallery over and over again. I had conversations with Peter every time I visited, he took the time to talk to a shy teenager about painting and history, Māori-Pākehā dynamics, about installation and visual language. I think he was slowly blowing my mind, and I started to feel completely at ease and empowered in the space between art and audience.

I went from high school to art school, and into the workforce; I peaked pretty early, running a Council funded gallery at 23, producing festival programmes, shows upon shows, editing publications, banging on about Pacific art to everyone I met. In the midst of the awkward process of re-entering the full-time workforce having worked myself into a fairly defined niche, I’m now measuring, planning, psyching myself up to do it solo: open my own gallery, because literally, it’s where my path has led me.

I moved away from Wellington and didn’t get the opportunity to speak to Peter McLeavey again, although I popped in whenever I was in town. I started following Richard Killeen on Instagram this year, and spent three gorgeous weeks in Wellington in January, across the landing at Enjoy Public Art Gallery for their Summer Residency. I keep encountering Peter McLeavey indirectly, and keep thinking about those early visits and the way they shaped my trajectory.

Art dealing in South Auckland in the 21st century is another kettle of fish, but the space between art and audience remains, and it’s here I think Peter McLeavey showed me the power and potential of informing, listening, engaging, opening minds, enabling and celebrating art and artists. What an amazing individual, a complete game changer.

RIL Peter McLeavey

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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

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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

 

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