What’s Going On


What’s Going On – A Live Art Project

Leilani Kake & Ema Tavola |  Fresh Gallery Otara

October-November 2006

Taking inspiration from Marvin Gaye’s 1971 politically charged anthem, “What’s Going On”, a musical commentary on injustice, poverty, hatred and suffering, the artists aimed to present and inspire dialogue about social and political issues affecting their communities.

What's Going On, Fresh Gallery Otara

Rather than a static display, the first two weeks of the exhibition were a ‘work in progress’. Visitors offered their own social commentary as they watched the artists create their installation. This experimental project aimed to highlight a broad range of artistic approaches, using accessible materials to question popular portrayals and stereotypes of Otara, South Auckland and urban Pacific and Maori communities.

The gallery became a transformative space. Over two weeks, artwork evolved live responding to interactions, conversations and experience of living in and around the space and place of Fresh Gallery Otara.

Wymondley Rd, Otara 

Army Fatigues on Special, Otara Great South Rd, Otahuhu


Photos by Leilani Kake

Day 1

Leilani Kake

Each artist worked on one of Fresh Gallery Otara’s 8-9m walls. Leilani is primarily a moving image artist. She started with the bare essentials.

Ema's materials

I work a lot in textiles, so began with a collection of materials, and Bella the mongrel.

Experimental Making



The live art making exposed the process that we engaged with as artists, showing an intrigued audience the amount of and style of thinking and making that goes towards a finished artistic outcome, whilst all the time being influenced by the interactions of viewers and visitors to the gallery.

Introducing the project as an artistic response to what had been going on in and around Otara and Manukau City at the time, sparked rigourous and fascinating dialogue. Making work so publicly became an interesting process for us and we became very accountable for our actions, artistically..




 We thought about performances…!


And critiqued each other each day. On the fifth day, the digital camera was stolen from the Gallery, which was all part of the reality of what our work was speaking of. Staying to the strict time frame of two weeks, the finished exhibition was installed and celebrated with a closing reception.

Full Photo Album of WHAT’S GOING ON at Fresh Gallery Otara



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