I’ve started a new project. PIMPI has grown from my alter-ego, to a Tumblr, to a blog, to a business. I have talked about the idea of establishing an agency to represent Pacific visual artists. PIMPI is the beginnings.

It’s a new day, and a new beginning – same kaupapa, Oceania through and through… new site: www.PimpiKnows.com

Unknown waters

It’s day three of my new self-employment. There have been a few quiet panic attacks… What is my purpose? What if I run out of things to do between 9am to 6pm? What if something happens at Fresh? What if people forget me? …but in general, I feel at peace with my decision. And I feel a great affinity with this work by Thomas Howes who I follow on Flickr.

I wrote a piece for the current issue of Metro magazine, which I’ve enjoyed seeing in print. It was about my perspective on whether Auckland is a Pacific city. In line with my current addiction to Twitter, I asked my followers for insights into the topic. The responses were varied and intriguing. I didn’t get to acknowledge Fijian journalist and friend Ariela Zibiah in my piece, but I am deeply grateful for her responses to my Twitter enquiries.

Next month the exhibition Home AKL opens at Auckland Art Gallery. I’m doing a talk along with Assistant Curator, Julia Waite on Sunday 15 July from 3-4pm. I’m also speaking on a panel discussing Why Pacific art now? on Sunday 19 August. There are lots of workshops, activities and talks planned for Home AKLcheck out the Facebook page for updates.

I bought a whiteboard. It is full of projects and tasks. I’m quite busy, for someone who is technically unemployed.

This has been an unusual week, dreaming about work and conflict, the ocean and snakes. I’m going to start making some art this weekend.

Advance Pasifika March, Saturday 16 June 2012

A placard created by Samoan visual artist Siliga David Setoga.

My planned placard didn’t end up happening.

The story on TVNZ’s Tagata Pasifika (14 June 2012)

My sister Mereia Carling was transiting through Auckland on her back home to Suva, Fiji. This is us with Labour party star Carmel Sepuloni and Stacey Leilua.

10 Questions: Ema Tavola, Natural Selection (Issue #7) Winter 2010

What did you have for breakfast?
Scrambled eggs + toast.

Where did you grow up?
I was born in Suva, Fiji and raised in London and Brussels. I finished my secondary education in Wellington, New Zealand.

How has your thinking changed / what have you learnt?
I do a lot of looking, observing from the outside… I have a lot of questions, and am often plagued with contradiction. I have learnt to own my position of enquiry, and not dissect it to fit into other people’s boxes.

What would you consider your greatest achievement?
Leaving Fiji to manage life solo in Aotearoa.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I definitely overuse ‘potentially’. And ‘strategically’. And I swear a lot.

Who do you admire and why?
I admire people who work hard, because they are inspiring and make me want to work hard too. I admire people who embed their lives in service to their communities. And I admire mothers, because it feels like shaping a child’s life and experience is the most important job in the world.

What book last made an impression on you?
Musrum by Eric Thacker and Anthony Earnshaw.

One thing you wish you had?
The ability to live in two places at once.

On what occasion would you lie?
I have issues with honesty.

Which piece of art really matters to you?
A painting called 4 Women (2008) by Sangeeta Singh; I bought it in Suva.

Who are you listening to at the moment?
Birds… I had bronchitis recently and my ears were semi–blocked, I somehow tuned into the bird frequency, and since then have not stopped hearing the birds. There are tui in my garden, who always make me smile.. on the inside.

What do you like around you while you work?
A cup of tea, reference material, snacks and Blu–tack.

What is art for?
To reflect the human condition.

Read more from Natural Selection here

An opportunity to make Pasifika people VISIBLE in Auckland


Saturday 16th June 2012 – 9.00am start at Albert Park, Auckland City

Advance Pasifika is a deliberate movement of Pasifika communities in Auckland signifying our collective voice. We know through painful experience that a fair and equal New Zealand society is never voluntarily granted. It must be demanded. Today we demand equity.

Our future is at risk. The education system is failing our young people; our health is deteriorating; our people are being locked out of affordable housing; mothers and fathers are dying alone; our incomes are disproportionately lower; our communities are being fragmented and our ideas ignored.

It is time for change. It is time for action.

Hand-made Media

I often tire of trying to get [mainstream] media makers to recognise the importance of the artists and exhibitions that take place at Fresh Gallery Otara. For example, in six years of operation, the nationally funded Pacific Island affairs television programme, Tagata Pasifika, has done less than five stories on Pacific artists and events at Fresh.

In 2011, I collaborated with Tanu Gago to make a series of videos about Pacific artists and exhibitions; we started to make our own media. I’m really proud of what Tanu has created and will be making more in 2012. Here’s a video he made on Angela Tiatia’s 2011 exhibition, Foreign Objects

Free poster @Fresh274


Tanu Gago’s solo exhibition “Avanoa o Tama” opened at Fresh Gallery Otara last night. One of the images from his new body of work has been printed as a limited edition A3 poster, available from 2-31 March.