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WWLD? In Conversation with Leilani Kake

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 Leilani Kake – artist, educator and gallery coordinator for Papakura Art Gallery. Leilani is a powerful film maker, mother and activist, whose work imbues sophisticated questioning about our own perceived ideas. Read more for What Would Leilani Do? 

From reaching visual arts in tertiary institutions and also high schools to now being a gallery coordinator must have been a big change, what are some of the new challenges you face you as the Papakura Gallery coordinator?

Having teaching experience in both secondary and tertiary sectors has been hugely beneficial in my new role as a gallery coordinator. I am able to communicate with people from all walks of life. My main challenge is breaking down stereotypes that people have of art galleries and gallery coordinators. That only a certain “type” of person can enter or have an opinion on art and that were snobby. I’m far from that model!

 What have been that highlights so far being a gallery coordinator?

The highlights about being a gallery coordinator is being able to build community through connecting art with people and vice versa. Whither its informing a young person about an abstract sculpture or talking to an elderly audience about moving image, It’s about creating a safe, supportive place to grow, think and share.

Do you have any goals or aspirations for PAG?

My aspirations for Papakura Art Gallery is to build stronger community ties. Engaging Maori and Pacific audiences, creating inter-generational public programs and utilising the gallery as a place of learning for alternative education courses.

You’re a founder of the collective oceanic interrupted, would you be able to tell us a little bit more about this collective, how it started and what it means to you?

Oceania Interrupted is an Auckland-based collective of Māori and Pacific women’s who create public awareness actions that uses creative strategies to voice the kaupapa of a free west papua.

The strategies are based on Pacific and Maori epistemologies. ie, talanoa, whakawhanaungatanga, mana, Va and so on. We employ visual and performing arts methods like performance, design, photography and documentary, which have the ability to connect with Pacific and Maori people and empower our female contributors.

 How can people get involved?

Go online to our facebook page or

You’re also part of the exhibition between wind and water now showing at Enjoy Gallery, when you are showing work in different galleries do the diverse communities and audiences influence your installation of your work?

Hmmm, I guess I always consider how the audience will “read” my work and will it engage people. What i find interesting is the varying “readings” that different people have with my work. It gives me more perspectives to view and discourse to discuss.

Who inspires you?

Inspiration is ubiquitous!

 Serious question now.. who is your art crush? an artists work you absolutely love!

There are two, Video installation artist Bill Viola and Film Director Deepa Mehta.

If you could own any 5 artworks what would they be?

Carla Ruka – Mahui

Robyn Kahukiwa – Any work she has done

Margaret Aull

Molly Rangiwai Mchale

Cerisse Palalagi

Lastly what advice would you give to young creatives in New Zealand?

Be humble, work hard, keep an open mind, Research, Read new ideas and write your own and lastly remember to have fun and enjoy life!



Image Credit: Sangeeta Singh

1 Comment

  1. your love & dedication for Maori culture is appreciable.i got surprising knowledge about Maori art,
    your favorite artists and likes.

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