Value, values and #HomeAKL

For the past several months, I’ve been part of the curatorial team for the upcoming exhibition, Home AKL at Auckland Art Gallery opening Saturday 7 July. Under the leadership of Ron Brownson (Senior Curator – New Zealand and Pacific Art, Auckland Art Gallery), Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai, Nina Tonga and I have been the Associate Curators.

The experience has been exciting and rewarding, challenging and eye-opening. It is always satisfying to see artists who show at Fresh Gallery Otara go on to do great things. Having celebrated the gallery’s sixth anniversary last month, and processing mixed emotions about leaving my role at Auckland Council, it is particularly heartening to see that almost 40% of the artists in Home AKL have shown at Fresh since the Gallery opened in 2006.

The entry fee for Home AKL last week got reconsidered, the process of which was reported in the New Zealand Herald (10 June, 2012). Whilst an entry fee potentially limits accessibility to some audiences, it also builds value. The value of Home AKL is significant: for the artists, their work is shown in a landmark exhibition, in an award winning building over three months. Their work will be hung on the same walls as the European masterpieces in the recent Degas to Dalí travelling exhibition. Artists benefit from extensive media coverage, in-depth essays and exhibition writing, public programme events and talks. For audiences, Home AKL is a massively varied insight into Pacific lives and experience here in Auckland. The Pacific community is diverse and dynamic and this exhibition is a highly considered reflection of that. The works in Home AKL push the ‘identity’ cliché beyond recognition.

The upcoming Advance Pasifika: March for the Future event on Saturday 16 June is an effort to make Pacific people visible in Auckland. I’m excited about this event because I’ve seen so much change in the past three or so years that has systematically reduced the input and participation of Pacific people in decision making at local and central government levels. It’s heart breaking to feel so powerless in Aotearoa.

I’m proud that Home AKL comes at a time when Pacific people are starting to stir and expect and demand more of our leaders. I know that an entry fee for an art exhibition is considered by many to be unreasonable and even a deterrent. I understand the costs, particularly when coming from South Auckland. Transport and parking alone is expensive. I can only say that the experience of Home AKL will confirm for Pacific audiences that our lives, identities and multifaceted contributions to Auckland are recognised and honoured in this exhibition. We will be visible and present; our issues and perspectives, our communities and environments – Home AKL is a celebration of Auckland through a Pacific lens.

Importantly, myself, Kolokesa and Nina have ensured that Pacific input has been present and considered at every stage of the exhibition’s development. For me, this is an important point of difference. I hope that this input has informed a new way of looking at and considering art made by Pacific people.

I’m looking forward to the show opening, the various public events, and importantly, the reviews and responses from the Pacific community and beyond.

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SOUTH is here!!

SOUTH is a publication I have co-edited with my colleague, Nigel Borell; we work as the Māori and Pacific arts coordinators for Arts and Culture South, Auckland Council. This is a project we have been working on for two years and have finally… FINALLY… made it to this point.

As curators and arts administrators, Nigel and I have produced numerous small, medium and large scale publications for Māori and Pacific arts exhibitions and events in South Auckland. We always engage primarily with Māori and Pacific writers, artists and commentators, and wanted to create a publication that highlighted the wealth of arts activity, commentary and writing that is emanating from South Auckland.

Issue 1 of SOUTH is a beautifully designed 44-page journal-book-magazine. We endeavor to publish SOUTH twice a year, holding launch parties at Fresh Gallery Otara.

This first issue is being launched at Fresh Gallery Otara on Thursday 26 January (6-9pm) alongside the opening of I don’t wanna talk about it – a solo exhibition by Otahuhu-based painter, Molly Rangiwai-McHale, who is also a contributor to this issue.

If you’d like a copy of SOUTH, email Nicole Lim at Fresh Gallery OtaraSOUTH is free!

Issue 1 features:

  • Exhibition overview of 18-year-old Waylan Tupaea-Petero’s first solo show, Kāinga Tūturu – Calling Home
  • Photo essay about tattooist Capilli Apelu Tupou
  • Page works by Daniel Tautua, Cerisse Palalagi and Molly Rangiwai-McHale
  • An in-depth artist Profile of Rebecca Ann Hobbs
  • Responses to Ngaru Roa, the 2011 National Rangatahi Art Conference, Auckland Art Fair,  Māori Market and the newly refurbished Auckland Art Gallery.
  • A tribute to the Cook Islands curator, Jim Vivieaere
  • An excellent interview between Parris Goebel of Request Dance Crew and Coco Solid
  • Photography by Raymond Sagapolutele (including our cover shot of Tattooist Capilli Apelu Tupou’s hands) and Vinesh Kumaran

#PolySwag
#BooomBahhhng
#TeamSOUTHSIDE

#JustSaying

😉

Fresh 2012 – it’s a new era…

Fresh Gallery Otara is going through some changes this year! More information to come. In the meantime, the January – August exhibition programme is locked in and lookin’ mighty fine!

This year kicks off with I don’t wanna talk about it – a solo exhibition by Otahuhu-based painter, Molly Rangiwai-McHale. I’ve liked Molly’s work since we were at art school together. Her paintings are big and sassy, strong and so, so bold. On the same night we open Molly’s show, we launch SOUTH – a new Māori and Pacific arts publication celebrating South Auckland. SOUTH is an epic project I’ve undertaken with my colleague Nigel Borell. We’re SO excited to launch Issue 1 – more on that to come too!

I don’t wanna talk about it runs from 27 January – 25 February. Molly’s artist talk is from 12pm on Saturday 11 February.

Avanoa o Tama is Tanu Gago‘s second solo exhibition. The exhibition is a follow-up from his highly successful 2010/11 series, Jerry the Fa’afafine first shown at City Gallery Wellington and now on permanent display at Mangere Arts Centre – Nga Tohu o Uenuku in South Auckland.

Avanoa o Tama is a photographic series that looks at the cultural assignment of gender identity in regard to social and cultural expectation amongst men of Pacific diaspora. Concerned with representation and codes of gender this work explores a spectrum of masculine identity among literal and conceptual cultural spaces. The conceptual spaces refer to the grey areas where gender and sexuality tread an ambiguous line between the typical and the unexpected.

These spaces are often occupied by Fa’afafine and gay Pacific males. In this instance this space is shared with other heterosexual Polynesian and Melanesian males. As an artist I am interested to see what is exposed about our public perceptions of gender and sexuality when these codes of gender deviate from cultural and social norms and how this reflects on our own cultural sensibilities and notions of tolerance and understanding.”

I can’t wait to see Tanu’s new body of work. This is one of his working images that I love:

Avanoa o Tama runs from 2-31 March, Tanu’s artist talk takes place from 12pm on Saturday 17 March, which btw is a FANTASTIC day to come to South Auckland – it’s the Otara Market AND the final day of the ASB Polyfest – the premier New Zealand Pacific arts event on my calendar!

In April we open Generation – a joint show between Northland sculptor Will Ngakuruand his Auckland-based son, Ammon Ngakuru.

“Ammon’s paintings seek to explore the relationship between everyday personal situations and situations portrayed as regular through popular television and media. ‘Generation’ could relate to this in the sense that television and media generate ideas and normality which effect us on a personal level.

Will creates works that both challenge and inform using wood, stone, metal and clay, he has created a body of work titled ‘Intergenerational healing’ past, present and future expressed through sculpture.”

Generation runs from 6 April – 5 May.

I’m so excited about WWJD – a group show I’m curating for Fresh Gallery Otara’s 6th anniversary in May. WWJD honours the work of the late Cook Islands curator, Jim Vivieaere (1947-2011); the title is based on a tribute I wrote to Jim not long after his death. This group show is an opportunity to reflect on Fresh Gallery Otara’s pioneering role in showcasing new Pacific art that challenges, engages and reflects on the unique socio-political context of Otara, South Auckland and Oceania. More on WWJD to come!

WWJD runs from 11 May – 23 June with the curatorial floor talk at 12pm on Saturday 26 May. It is a central event within the 2012 South Auckland Pacific Arts Summit (3-31 May) and more associated events will be announced soon!

The work shown here is Otara at night (2011), a single-channel video work by Rebecca Ann Hobbs filmed in the Otara Town Centre featuring dancer Amelia Lynch. I can’t wait to present this work in Otara for the first time!

A signature event of Matariki Festival 2012 is the Te Taumata Exhibition Series which this year is guest curated by Ngahiraka Mason. The initiative celebrates excellence in Maori visual arts, with a series of exhibitions by a selection of Aotearoa’s most exciting new and established artists in galleries across Auckland.  The talented photographer Aimee Ratana has been invited to present an installation of new work in her first exhibition at Fresh Gallery Otara. And it’s really… really hot!!

Te Taumata at Fresh runs from 6 July – 4 August with an artist floor talk on Saturday 7 July at 12pm.

After August, there’s some exciting changes underfoot for Fresh, so watch this space for more info!

Drop Nicole Lim an email to be added to the Fresh Gallery Otara mailing list, or follow Fresh on Twitter: @Fresh274

Nimamea’a: The Fine Arts of Tongan Embroidery and Crochet

 

Nimamea’a: The Fine Arts of Tongan Embroidery and Crochet is derived from an exhibition first shown at Fresh Gallery Otara in April / May 2010. Very proud to see it reframed within the context of Objectspace, a very exciting gallery in central Auckland dedicated to craft, applied arts and design.

Well done curators Kolokesa Uafā Māhina-Tuai and Manuēsina ‘Ofa-ki-Hautolo Māhina and HUGE RESPECT to the fine artists involved, Lingisiva ‘Aloua, Kolokesa Kulīkefu, Lupe Mahe, Tu’utanga Hunuhunu Māhina, Falesiu Siu Noma, ‘Ofa-ki-Nu’usila Talakia’atu and Manuēsina Tonata.

MUD at Fresh Gallery Otara

Wellington-based computer programmer and artist, Douglas Bagnall is currently showing at Fresh Gallery Otara in South Auckland. MUD is a 2-channel video installation in a darkened room.

It’s a trip.

With almost 3000 characters, the work includes imagery of women and men, fish and other sea creatures, birds, riots, satellites, planes, worms… nuns, old Hollywood movie stars… and much, much more! No two moments are the same; the work is a six week epic!

In the room, the projections are on opposite walls. There’s a bench seat in the middle to sit and be surrounded by the work. It has been hugely popular with Fresh Gallery Otara’s significant youth audience.

It’s a quiet, calming experience to sit with this work.

MUD is proudly part of the 2011 Southside Arts Festival (14 October – 6 November) and runs until Saturday 26 November.

Follow Fresh Gallery Otara on Twitter: @Fresh274

A fabulous *free* custom paint job is just one click away!

I’ve had two of my cars painted by the excellent Monty Collins! I’m helping to organise an event for the Southside Arts Festival called The Southside Social at Fresh Gallery Otara on Thursday 3 November and we’re wanting to get Monty in to paint a car… live!

As the car owner, you get to set the brief for Monty – he’ll mix in your interests with his signature style of full-colour energy fabulousness!

FOREIGN OBJECTS at Fresh Gallery Otara

Angela Tiatia’s first solo exhibition, Foreign Objects opens at Fresh Gallery Otara, South Auckland in September.

Foreign Objects explores the consumption of objects, day-to-day exchanges and rituals that have become modern mythology and are used to connect with the Pacific. This exploration ranges from the harmless and humorous to the injurious and absurd.

Angela Tiatia is an Auckland-based artist, raised in both Otara and Samoa. She works in installation, video and performance, and graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts from AUT University in 2010. Past works have been exhibited in the de Young Museum (San Francisco), 100th Street Salon (New York) and City Gallery Wellington (NZ).

The opening reception for Foreign Objects is at 6pm on Thursday 8 September. The exhibition is open to the public from 9 September – 1 October 2011. Join Angela for a discussion about the exhibition from 12pm, Saturday 17 September – all welcome.

Follow Fresh Gallery Otara on Twitter for regular updates: @Fresh274