Defining Sovereignty – New work by Yazma Smith

Install at Fresh Gallery Otara

Curtis Clearsky performing at the opening of Defining Sovereignty (Thursday 31 January)

The works are all approximately 600x600mm, acrylic paint on cartridge paper. They are available to be traded for goods and services with the artist, Yazma Smith.

DEFINING SOVEREIGNTY is showing at Fresh Gallery Otara from 1-23 February 2008.

More photos from the exhibition

Seeking Participants: Pacific Women Artists living in Diaspora

Torika Bolatagici is seeking participants to interview for a forthcoming book chapter (Re)constructing Pacific Islander Identities: Negotiations of the ‘fake’ and ‘authentic’ (working title).

Interviews will be conducted informally via email, in February 2008. If you are interested in being involved, she would love to hear from you. Please email her at by 31st January 2008. Participants should be diasporic Pacific Islander women, aged 18-30. Artists (of any discipline) should be based in either Australia or New Zealand.

The chapter will explore the diverse positions of young contemporary artists of the Pacific Island diaspora. Through informal discussions and interviews with young diasporic women this chapter will draw out the voices of these women and their experience of the contemporary art scene and their feelings about Pacific Islander identity within the context of Australia and New Zealand.

As diasporic women (some of mixed-ancestry) these artists inhabit a liminal space between home and host whose work challenges and resists popular constructions of Pacific Islander identity in relation to gender, race, sexuality. This chapter addresses notions of the ‘fake’ and ‘authentic’ in relation to diasporic identity and the many ways in which the artists negotiate a terrain in which authenticity is valued but always determined by context.

The dialogue will take place between women who have exhibited locally and internationally to a vast range of audiences and represents artists at different stages of their careers.

About the author:

Torika is an Associate Lecturer in the School of Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University where she teaches contemporary photographic theory and practice. She is a current PhD candidate at the College of Fine Arts (UNSW), where her current research investigates the representation of the black body in war, and focuses on Fijian soldiers in Iraq.

Her photomedia and video work has been exhibited in international exhibitions, including: Kurunavanua: Black Bodies and War, Collingwood Gallery, Melbourne (2007); The Real Fiji, Mangere Arts Centre, Manukau City, Aotearoa New Zealand (2006); Fresh 8, Revolver Upstairs, Melbourne (2005) (In)secure, Cube 37, Frankston (2003); Pacific Notion, Macy Gallery, New York (2002); Motivation & Inspiration, McInery Building, Melbourne (2001); Lanuola: Colors of Life, Somarts Gallery, San Francisco (2001). Her recent publication includes ‘Claiming the (n)either/(n)or of ‘third space’ (re)presenting Hybrid Identity and the Embodiment of Mixed Race’ Journal of Intercultural Studies, Vol. 25, No. 1, 2004, pp. 75-85.

Author: Torika Bolatagici, Deakin University, Australia.

Mobile: 0424 375 114



Leilani Kake at MIC Toi Rerehiko Gallery

Talking Tivaevae (2005) video/performance installation

The first opportunity to experience two video installations by South Auckland based Cook Island/Maori multi-media artist Leilani Kake, will be opening this Friday 25 January from 6pm at the MIC Toi Rerehiko Gallery, Level 1, 321 Karangahape Road, Auckland City, Aotearoa New Zealand.

Talking Tivaevae has been exhibited in the Cook Islands, Fiji and at Fresh Gallery Otara in South Auckland, New Zealand. This exhibition will provide a further opportunity to regenerate the installation which continues to impress audiences imparting a deep respect for the cultural tradition of tivaevae, Cook Island quilt making. Ariki is the artist’s most recent work speaking to the Cook Island hair cutting ritual and the transition from boy to manhood.

Ariki (2007) still from video

Leilani Kake exhibits alongside New Zealand artists Lonnie Hutchinson and Lesley Kaiser. The exhibition runs until Saturday 8 March, 2008.

Click here for Media Release

For more information about “Ariki” (2007)

Nooroa Tapuni, Ema Tavola, Leilani Kake

Happy Niu Yeahhhh 2008!

I’m thrilled to be starting 2008 by attending the 32nd CIHA conference in Melbourne, “Crossing Cultures: Conflict, Migration, Convergence”. My trip has been generously supported by Manukau City Council and Tautai Contemporary Pacific Art Trust

  Leilani Salesa, co-conspirator 

Fresh Gallery Otara has an awesome line-up of exhibitions and events for 2008 including:

  • Defining Sovereignty – a solo exhibition by Nga Puhi painter Yazma Smith exploring the visual language of protest (1-23 February)
  • From the Pacific, We Rise – a retrospective of the notorious South Auckland entertainment and media company, Kila Kokonut Krew (29 February – 15 March)
  • Top 16a solo exhibition by Janet Lilo exploring the social phenomenon of Bebo and the impact and extensions of contemporary Pacific youth culture in New Zealand and globally (21 March – 12 April)
  • REPRESENT! Four diverse approaches to image-making by four South Auckland based photo media artists (18 April – 10 May)
  • Ranea – Abundancethe first solo exhibition of exciting Auckland-based Niuean/Maori print artist, Cerisse Palalagi (13 June – 5 July)

I’m planning my journey to Pago Pago, American Samoa for the 10th Festival of Pacific Arts (20 July – 2 August) and preparing for a solo exhibition in October!  

Happy Niu Yeahhh and bring on 2008!