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


South Auckland’s own FMC VXN has launched her debut music video for SOS (Sound of the Streets), a dream project realised after winning the Hustle It Fresh talent contest televised in 2011 on TVNZ’s Polynesian youth show, Fresh.

FMC VXN performed at Fresh Gallery Otara’s WHITE NIGHT event, part of the 2011 Auckland Arts Festival and again at the NiuFM Grassroots Mixer concert, part of the 2011 South Auckland Pacific Arts Summit (below).

FMC VXN has been part of the Fresh Gallery Otara community since the gallery was established in 2006, mostly via her sister, Leilani Kake. Leilani directed the music video for SOS (Sound of the Streets) with Tanu Gago; it was an awesome project to be part of various capacities.


Leilani Kake + Tanu Gago // Tagata Pasifika

TVNZ’s weekly Pacific Island affairs programme, Tagata Pasifika aired this story about two artists I work closely with, Leilani Kake and Tanu Gago on 18 November 2010. At the time, Leilani was showing her 2010 video work, Kia Ora 2 Kia Orana in manu toi; artists and messengers curated by Nigel Borell for Mangere Arts Centre – Nga Tohu o Uenuku, and Tanu’s solo, YOU LOVE MY FRESH was showing at Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts in Pakuranga.

YOU LOVE MY FRESH has been extended one week and now will be shown until 12 December 2010.

Next year, Tanu is involved in a group exhibition curated by Reuben Friend for Deane Gallery, City Gallery Wellington opening in January. I am curating Leilani’s next solo exhibition, Nga Hau E Wha – The Four Winds – a four-channel video installation at Fresh Gallery Otara for the 2011 Auckland Arts Festival in March.

Leilani and I are trying to generate funds to participate in the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania Symposium in Hawai’i in February. We have proposed to discuss the construction and context of Nga Hau E Wha – The Four Winds in a session entitled, Refashioning the Body: Building Critical Theory Across the Pacific. A 2011 Colour Me Fiji fundraising T-shirt is in production!

Tanu Gago // New Work

Tanu Gago is a south Auckland-based Samoan filmmaker who I’m working with to produce his first solo exhibition, YOU LOVE MY FRESH opening in September at Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, Manukau City. Tanu was a contributing artist to the smallaxe09 project, a collaborative video work produced by Janet Lilo and I as part of the invitational exhibition profiling new art venues at Auckland’s ARTSPACE gallery in September 2009. Tanu’s short film, The Woods, also featured in the inaugural Manukau Film Festival in 2008.

YOU LOVE MY FRESH is an experimental video installation exploring Samoan identity, intergenerational cultural transmission and gender in south Auckland.

Umu day, an initiative teaching young New Zealand-born Samoans how to prepare an umu / earth oven.


The Kool Kids Company – Tanu Gago’s production company.

Tanu’s drawing practice is also of note, his current body of work is based around a character inspired by Dan Taulapapa McMullin‘s poetry collection, A Drag Queen Named Pipi.

Jerry the Fa’afafine is an ongoing series of drawings exploring Samoan masculinity.

Tanu opened our second Manukau City edition of Pecha Kucha Night in November 2009 for the Manukau Festival of Arts with a fantastic, inspiring presentation that can be seen here.