Month: September 2014

WWED? In Conversation with Ema Tavola

WW..D? Is an interview segment where we get to know awesome people that are a part of the creative community in New Zealand. This week we spoke to curator Ema Tavola, of PIMPI (Pacific Island Management, Production + Ideas). She was an instrumental figure for Fresh Gallery Otara, Associate Curator for HomeAKL and major advocate for Pacific arts. Read more for What Would Ema Do? How did you first get into the art industry? When I lived in Suva, I got involved with the Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies at the University of the South Pacific. I started painting there and discussing Oceania and art making with the late Professor ‘Epeli Hau’ofa. It was there that I participated in a painting workshop with the New Zealand Niuean artist and writer, John Pule, who told me about Manukau School of Visual Arts (now MIT Faculty of Creative Arts) in Otara, and that’s where I ended up studying. I moved to Auckland and lived with friends in Central Auckland in 2001 before moving to Manukau to study full-time. From those Fiji mates, I …

Reels, knights and other tomorrows at Christchurch Art Gallery

Reels, knights and other tomorrows. Edwards and Johann. 23 August – 02 November. Christchurch Art Gallery.   Encountering Reels, knights and other tomorrows by Edwards and Johann at the Christchurch Art Gallery asks more questions than it answers. These questions aren’t inquisitive, but have become stale and recursive.  It is a show which is both accessible and features Christchurch based artists, but lacks any critical integrity and cohesive curation. The exhibition consists of a series of brightly coloured sculptural works made from rubble from a former church’s organ. This rubble sits as a constellation atop a metal poll. In each room is a series of  wall works; a sound work made in collaboration with Seth Edwards Ellis permeates softly and often un-noticeably through the space. Upon entering we were taken aback by the cold and austere reception by gallery staff, the inconsistent nature of the lightning and the insensitive use of materials, which inherently harbours a sense of place and memory. The first room of works was incredibly dark and had three sculptures and a wall …

Tau Tupua: The Spirits at Fresh Gallery Otara

Tau Tupua: The Spirits. Rob George, Toa Taiha, Vela Manusuate. 25th July – 30th August. Fresh Gallery Otara.   The exhibition Tau Tupua: The Spirits featured the work of Robert George, Toa Taiha and Vela Manusuate. When I first heard about this exhibition from a colleague I decided instantly that it was one I had to see. Unlike many contemporary exhibitions where the conceptual framing of the show can be read in a very broad way, this show had a specific focus.In 1915 during the first world war 150 Niuean men joined the New Zealand’s Maori contingent to serve in Egypt and France.”Tau Tupua: The Spirits honors war sacrifice of Niuean leaders, growers and fisherman”. The first work you see when entering the gallery is Spades (2014) By Toa Taihia. Shovels sit stoically on plinths at different heights and have been sanded down to create traditional Polynesian patterns along the plane of the objects. The transformation of the shovel is both striking in its beauty and symbolic of the Niuean soldiers role in Egypt which …

WWTD: In Conversation with Talia Smith

WW..D? Is an interview segment where we get to know awesome people that are part of the create community in New Zealand. This week we spoke to artist, curator and writer Talia Smith who is currently on a 6 month curatorial residency at Gaffa in Sydney. Read more for What Would Describe yourself in 3 words. Crazy, sexy, cool – I’m sorry I couldn’t help it. Actual words I would choose: Driven, foolish and funny. If you were a mythical creature what would you be? The Loch Ness monster Tell us about your practice. My photographic and video practice examines the marks and traces left from human interaction on spaces and landscape. I mainly focus on everyday spaces that we often take for granted and drive past each day without taking notice. This is something that I have been interested in for a long time, on long drives to and from New Plymouth to Auckland we would pass through small towns and industrial areas and I would always wonder what ever happened to these places? What …

Au at Mint Gallery

Au. Murray Eskdale and Tara Douglas (with Ben Webb). 5th September – 18th September. Mint Gallery.   Au is a selection of new photographic works by Murray Eskdale and Tara Douglas. Both are Dunedin based artists who have presented their individual bodies of work on opposite sides of the gallery in a very conventional and accessible manner. A photographic installation by Webb exists in between these works on the floor. Although consistently overlooked, one felt most drawn to this work. Eskdale presented a highly cohesive series of urban landscapes taken in Shanghai. These works were inherently reflective, both in subject matter and the clever way in which these works occupied the space. This is not merely in terms of interaction with these works within the gallery, but also the space outside the gallery; the surrounding environment. Offering a documentarian approach to an unfamiliar space and a mediation perhaps upon globalisation, these images lacked a nuanced socio-cultural understanding of both site and photography. Pertinent, as photography is embedded with what it reveals, something inherently ‘cultural’. Witnessing Douglas …

WWTD: In conversation with Tracey Williams

WW..D? Is a monthly interview segment where we get to know awesome people that are part of the create community in New Zealand. This month we spoke to senior arts and culture programme leader from Auckland Council Tracey Williams. Read more for What Would Tracey Do? How long have you been working for the arts and culture team in Auckland council? I’ve been working for Auckland Council’s Arts and Culture Unit since January 2011; first as the manager of Papakura Art Gallery and from March 2013 (following a restructure) in my current role as senior arts and culture programme leader. What does a senior arts and culture programmer do? My job description says my role is a senior creative position in the curatorial team that develops the strategic regional arts and culture programme in the context of the Auckland Plan, covering all disciplines and audiences, including public art, (within and outside Council’s facilities) and delivery channels (for example, exhibitions, festivals, events, pop up programmes, seminars, classes et al). I have a regional role with a …