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JUNE 2012

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tiffany singh

Image by Reece Surkitt

somewhere over the rainbow

Drums between the bells

I

t’s 2am, the fires have gone out - even the street lights dip into slumber. The land is cooling. No more voices howling. What is keeping you awake? Despite my best attempts at meditation and trying to stop my mind from swirling, I often find myself having anxiety around how the international works are going to manifest. I find it rather difficult to envisage the work without experiencing the sites. I say experiencing because it is more than seeing, for me it’s about experiencing a space and feeling how the work will resonate within it. There is a moment when I stand in a space where I can see the work clearly, without this part of the process there is always a slight element of doubt, I guess that’s where trust and faith come into it. There is an element of always wanting to do the best job I can for the people that have believed in me to do an exhibition, I guess at the moment my mind is filled with wind chimes, colours and bells, so it could be worse! Is your art a realisation of that which you define as sacred? I’m not sure whether it is ‘my definition of

Drums between the bells

sacred’. It is definitely an attempt to draw on the essence of the sacred in ways that evoke this experience in people. For me, it is important to create a feeling of mediation and meditation from the hustle and bustle of our every day. Encouraging my audience, or co-authors as I would rather view them, to see the beauty around us and find or acknowledge what is sacred to them, their lives. I try and use materials or mediums that inspire this feeling without dictating the experience to people. It has to be a personal and emotive connection to the work. The hope is that there is an energy to the work that people can draw on, to bring them strength or peace or whatever it is they need at that particular interval of their lives. There is often an opportunity to be a caretaker of a part of the work in my exhibitions. Hopefully this relic can embody that feeling and help them connect that place they experienced within the exhibition and all the caretakers of the work can share in some form of collective conscious which in my mind unites us and connects us on a very visceral level which unto itself, for me, is a sacred experience.

You are prolific (as an artist, author, or composer) producing many works, where do you draw your power from? I’m not sure whether it is a power. It feels at times more like a responsibility to both my community, and to my teachers that have shared their knowledge with me. Being taught in ashrams in India and monasteries in Tibet and Nepal has given me a framework for what it is I perceive to be my role within my work. I have a responsibility to the work to keep it safe as it revolves around the sacred, it is a gift to be able to work in this way. I do feel that work with spiritual and social roles are much needed at the moment. I have a belief that I am always where I need to be. As long as this remains true and I keep seeing the joy the work brings people and what it is facilitating I will keep going. What is the place of the artist within the community – prophet or servant? I can only speak for my own location within this question. For me it is the role of healing and being an agent for the voice of others to be seen and heard. Within the work there is a distinctive resurgence of the sacred or spiritual to


champion the intellect and theory, which extends to the audience, a sharing of consciousness and purpose that intersects with my own. This manifestation seems to travel across space and time to allow a syncing between artist and audience transcending traditional roles, where relationships are re-established across the three ancient categories of Body, Mind, and Spirit. It is a subjective question but I do relate to WJ Norton Jr, who in 1940 wrote Modern Art & Social Responsibility and spoke of an artist’s obligation to society, suggesting that in recognising the world crisis artists can no longer make work in a void of moral consciousness, art that carries no responsibility, art without spiritual content, art that places form above content or art that denies that very state of the very world in which we exist. It is with this in mind that the project is opened up to the audience inviting them to become the maker, sharing in a conscious co-authorship, that has the ability to affect the way we create, appreciate and value our own, intuitive scared spaces. What does it mean for you to have your works included within the 18th Biennale of Sydney? Working in the way the I do has not been an easy journey, giving things away and working in a site specific ephemeral manner is not the most solid of business plans! Having the work chosen for the biennial gives this mode of working a validation within a tech savvy supportive environment. To be able to realise a work on such a large scale is extremely exciting. It also exposes the work to an international audience and makes me proud to be representing Aotearoa. Of course it is also a huge learning experience and a chance to be inspired by such quality work and the artists who have created it. How important is it to you that your creative successes might carve out a path for aspiring artists? Feeling like it is my successes which have carved out a path seems a little egotistical. Instead I hope to inspire a determination in

Itupapa itulagi

others to find their own way even if it is not a conventional fit. To believe in what you do and give it time. There are no easy ways, but if you don't have complete faith in what you do how can you expect anyone else to? If you stay true to your intentions eventually your will path will unfold and you will find your like minded gems. In this space of respect and collaboration anything is possible I truly believe this. I believe we are all synergistically part of a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts, we are all helping each other really. Describe some of the challenges in creating an environment as opposed to simply hanging a canvas? The obvious one is logistics, suspending, salting, ricing, the physics of the installs is a challenge to me still. I can see the work in my mind’s eye but how to make that actually happen can be a struggle! However it's more about creating a cohesive environment that communicates an energy in its materials and its aesthetic, this is the challenge; to change the way the space feels and to allow the audience to fully enter into the work becoming one with it so that there is a disintegration of separation between audience and artwork that is primary to it being experienced in a sensory way, a feeling of emersion, wholeness and connection to the existence of the work is what I am aiming for. What does the support of your people mean to you, and why can they not afford to miss out on the Sydney Biennale? Support means everything. If it was not for the support I have been given up until this point I would not be doing what I do. It’s not a financial thing, although this is important too it’s the belief in the vision that when shared makes it easier to find a way. Having people enjoy the work and understand its importance and take the experience of it away with them is a huge reward. My peers and contemporaries that encourage me to explore alternative avenues alongside my muses and my teachers are really what make the work worth making. Yes there is

Knock on the Sky Listen to the Sound

an extension to a wider audience but it’s the encouragement from those I hold in such high regard that really pushes me forward. The Sydney Biennale is by far the largest work I have attempted, creating work on such a monumental scale 3000 wind chimes opposed to 300 facilitates a different experience especially when the work is both visual and sound based. The chimes are also energy based so it’s a great chance to experience the works healing capacity too. Speaking candidly, what kind of support does an artist need to be able to operate within a global context? Recognition from your country is vital, this extends to a financial capacity too as far as funding and support goes. I think more and more you need to be technologically savvy and be pushing the boundaries in your practice and remain connected with what is happening globally. It is important to be out in the world at regular intervals to know your contemporaries on an international level and be making contacts out in the world. I think you also need to have support of your loved ones. It is a hard game and you have to be driven and make the most of opportunities when they arise so it’s important that those around you understand the commitment to the work and help support you in this process too. It’s hard to be self motivating all the time so having encouragement and people to bounce off is paramount. Recalling your mana, and what you have gathered and made beautiful/ visible to the world - this mahi, this inner landscape you make physical - I want to thank you Tiffany. Are you wholly aware of the history you are making? It really doesn’t feel like history, it just feels like I’m following my heart and being truthful to what it is I feel I should do. Creativity is a gift I try to honour one day at a time, it’s what you do with it that counts. This is an extract of a conversation Tiffany had with Courtney Meredith

Medi(t)ation


tautai news Talofa lava

W

for a total art intensive weekend which was planned around supporting Ioane Ioane at the opening of his solo exhibition at the City Gallery. In May Janet Lilo curated an exhibition for Tautai at the Papakura Art Gallery which she titled Girls who shoot/Boys who draw. An extremely popular public event during this exhibition was FAM BAM which gave people an opportunity to have their family portraits taken by a professional photographer at no charge.

e make special acknowledgement of Samoa as Independence Celebrations and Samoan language week have both taken place recently. We also remember Jim Vivieaere as the first anniversary of his passing has also just occurred. Our thoughts are with his family. As you will see from articles in this newsletter, there has been the usual flurry of activity: The first Fresh Horizons workshop for the year took place in Invercargill in April. This was a return visit building on a very successful workshop there last year and further cementing a relationship with the Murihiku Maori and Pasifika Cultural Arts Trust. The sixth annual Tautai Tertiary Art Road Trip happened later in April, with twenty students taken to Wellington

In the office and behind the scenes the less visible work continued. We welcomed Rob George to the Digital Media role. Many of you will recognise the name (Ian’s son, Miria’s brother) and in his own right Rob has an established reputation as a film maker,

editor, producer and also knows his way around websites etc. We are very pleased to advise that we applied for and were successful in gaining funding from CNZ to set up a pilot scheme to trial shared accounting/business services for a pacific arts cluster. This is an initiative that we believe will be very beneficial to the wider pacific arts community. Our thanks to everyone who has sent in a membership subscription for the year, your support is much appreciated. If you did not receive a subscription form and would like one, please email tautai@tautai.org and ask for one to be sent to you. ia manuia – Team Tautai

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fresh horizons invercargill 11, 12, 13 April 2012

T

e Wharekura o Arowhenua in Invercargill hosted a group of thirty three students from the Southland area as they took part in three days of intensive art making. The tutors were Albert McCarthy (sculpture), Janet Lilo (animation), Matthew Salapu aka Anonymouz (music) and Deane Whaanga (kowhaiwhai). It was also great to have Johnny Penisula on hand to support and encourage everyone. Our thanks again to Pauline Smith and Lisa Tou of Murihiku Maori and Pasifika Cultural Arts Trust for their wonderful southern hospitality. We also acknowledge and congratulate them for their vision and determination in ensuring that ‘their’ young people get access to a range of art experiences. Senior and esteemed artist Johnny Penisula with students

Show of work to family and friends at the end of the workshop


girls who shoot / boys who draw

Opening of Girls Who Shoot / Boys Who Draw exhibition

An exhibition at Papakura Art Gallery. A collaboration between the gallery and Tautai. 19 May – 16 June 2012

A

s a visual artist my approach is to always consider the relationship between location, the people who it will affect and the gift of what the art could potentially bring to a situation or space. As a curator my approach is the same. In my opinion Papakura Art Gallery is one of the more aesthetically interesting spaces in Auckland to exhibit work in and it was my utmost pleasure to be invited to curate 'Girls Who Shoot/ Boys Who Draw'. In a former life the building served as a fire station, notable in its high stud /concrete floor and cube-like entry space where the big red truck and hose would park up. Adjoining to this, a nicely renovated low level room flush with wooden floors provides a formal dwelling suited to an intimate hang or display of objects. With this in mind, my immediate reaction to the spaces suggested a dual or tandem response. 'Girls Who Shoot' and 'Boys Who

Janet Lilo capturing a FAM BAM family portrait

Draw' offers a Pacific-artist-based show that was first responsive to space. In addition gender and discipline restrictions challenged this idea of inclusion and exclusion. The title of the show is literal and purposefully named as a suggestion of pop culture or catchy phrasing. The artists involved reflect and offer contemporary and youthful practices as either a current MA student, recent graduate or emerging artist. Photographers Anita Jacobsen and Amanda Warwick both hail from Papakura and anchored a much needed local viewpoint with images of the quiet domestic and Pacific portraiture. Ane Tonga's 'Grills series' made no mistake in its high impact punch and personal response to gold teeth in the mouths of Tongan women. Tony Tia's playful approach invited audiences to interact with his custom puzzles and were a hit with all ages. Allen Vili's large spray-can mural on canvas represented 'Everyday Heroes' - a theme brainstormed by local St Mary's Primary School children.

If we go we go together by Tony Tia

backdrop for family portraits in the gallery but also served as a 'Creative Communities' opportunity where every child at St Mary's Primary School produced their own mural on a tea towel intended for a large scale Installation. The youngest artist of the group, Limi Manu, kindly offered the eyes space to rest with his delicately abstracted pencil wall-drawings that seemingly floated on the walls. 'Girls Who Shoot/ Boys Who Draw' was included in the Auckland photography fringe festival and received funding from the Pacific Arts Summit for 'FAM BAM!' - a public event where family and friends could walk into the gallery and have their portraits taken for free. In four hours 121 people and four dogs took advantage of this great opportunity - most of whom were local to the area with photographer and exhibiting artist Amanda Warwick. The sensation and buzz of the gallery on the day is one I'll never forget and I would like to acknowledge director Tracey Williams and staff for their epic support.

The concept of the mural was to act as a

Janet Lilo – Curator

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gallery

Image by Daniel Tavai Andrea Low, installation, Small Histories at Artstation Auckland

Dan Taulapapa (centre) with artists and filmmakers at ATA Exhibition of Contemporary Samoan Art at Harris Gallery, University of La Verne, LA

Dagmar Dyck in New York City for the opening of Bringing Contemporary NZ Art to New York exhibition


Patron: Fatu Feu’u Board of Trustees: Gina Cole (Chair),

Tautai Office: Christina Jeffery (Manager),

Ron Brownson, Niki Hastings-McFall, Colin Jeffery, Janet Lilo, Siliga David Setoga, Caroline Vercoe

Trish Ah Sam (Arts Administrator), Dagmar Dyck (Fresh Horizons), Rob George (Digital Media) Marlaina Key (Special Projects), Saimealafo Tapaleao (Tertiary Liaison)

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the annual road trip I

n the early hours of Friday the 27th April 2012 a group of art and design students from AUT, ELAM, MSVA, Unitec and Whitecliffe climbed aboard a minibus for the annual TAUTAI TERTIARY ART ROAD TRIP. Our driver Mr Siliga Setoga and co-captains Ms Trish Ah Sam and Ms Sa Tapaleao navigated us safely down from Auckland to Wellington to the sounds of reggae - 'Beautiful Woman', will most probably be our theme song forever. As well as taking in the views of the North Island the 10 hour drive gave us plenty of time to suss out our new weekend buddies from the different art schools before we finally reached our destination - Wellywood Backpackers. I have never personally stayed in a backpackers before and tried not to remember horror stories from people who have. Stories from bedbugs, stolen passports to kidnapped travellers or was that a movie? Of course I had nothing to worry about. The Tautai team provided

us with great accommodation for the group to rest and enjoy the planned weekend ahead.

opportunity, this being the first of his work I personally have seen.

After arriving at the backpackers we had a little rest time and then made our way to the Deane Gallery, Wellington City Gallery for the opening night of Auckland based artist Ioane Ioane's exhibition 'Poly wants a cracker'.

Saturday we were up early, ate a yummy breakfast (thanks Tautai for all the food) and then into the bus for gallery visits to Pataka in Porirua, Te Papa (behind the scenes visit to the Pacific storeroom) – fantastic – and visits to dealer galleries. The whole weekend was an experience to remember.

Everyone enjoyed the whole experience of attending Ioane's exhibition from the amazing performance in the beginning with the actors leading us from outside of the gallery into the gallery space were Ioane's work was displayed. Not knowing what to expect when walking into the gallery space, I admit I was surprised at the content displayed. However, with the understanding of the strong interpretation of his work we were captivated, and after attending the artist talk the next day with Ioane, we were absolutely blown away.

Paul Lafaele – Unitec

Poly wants a cracker by Ioane Ioane, an exhibition to go and see if you ever have the

Opening night performance of Ioane Ioane's exhibition 'Poly wants a cracker' at the City Gallery Wellington

Quick stop in the journey to enjoy the view

Personally I am someone who does not enjoy the process of networking, but going on this trip has helped to push me out of my antinetworking mode. Many of the students have commented and agree that this was a great opportunity to meet other like-minded people connecting socially as well as artistically and to begin forging strong lasting relationships between the art schools.

2012 Tautai Tertiary Art Roadtrip Crew

Shared evening meal at Wellywood Backpackers


PO Box 68 339, Newton, Auckland, 1145 Artstation, 1B Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland Phone: 09-376 1665 • Fax: 09-376 1825 Email: tautai@tautai.org • Website: www.tautai.org

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events & exhibitions july | august | september 2012 until 7 July. Quasimodo Love. Andy Leleisi’uao. Papergraphica, Christchurch until 8 July. Multiply: Reinvigorating Repetition. Includes Tiffany Singh. Hastings City Art Gallery, Hastings until 14 July. Variable Truth. Includes Greg Semu, 4A Gallery, Sydney, Australia until 28 July. Allure. Includes Chris Charteris. FHE Gallery, Auckland until 26 August. Men of Matariki. Includes Limi Manu at Corbans Estate Arts Centre, Henderson until 1 September. Ubiquitous: Aspects of Contemporary Pattern. Includes Leanne Clayton. Objectspace, Auckland until 16 September. Tiffany Singh at 18th Sydney Biennale. Pier 2/3, MCA and Cockatoo Island, Sydney, Australia 3 – 21 July. Irami Buli, Josua Toganivalu, Glen Wolfgramm, Orex Gallery, Kitchener St, Auckland 6 – 27 July. Annual Tautai Tertiary Exhibition. This Must Be The Place. Louisa Afoa, Cordelle Feau, Anita Jacobsen, Alana Lopesi, Limi Manu, Chris Ryan, Talia Smith, Salome Tanuvasa, Aaron Unasa, Cora-Allan Wickliffe. Curator Jeremy Leatinu’u. St Paul St Gallery, Auckland

7 July – 22 October. Home:AKL. Edith Amituanai, Graham Fletcher, Tanu Gago, Niki Hastings McFall, Lonnie Hutchinson, Ioane Ioane, Leilani Kake, Shigeyuki Kihara, Jeremy Leatinu’u, Andy Leleisi’uao, Janet Lilo, Ani O’Neill, John Pule, Greg Semu, Siliga Setoga, Paul Tangata,Angela Tiatia, Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi, Teuane Tibbo, Jim Vivieaere, Louisa Humphry, Semisi Fetokai Potauaine, Kolokesa Kulikefu, Hulita Tupou. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland 9 – 30 July. Island Fever. Sylvia Marsters at Beachcomber Contemporary Art Gallery, Rarotonga 18 July – 4 August. The Sole Project: Nga Rangatahi Toa Creative Arts Initiative. Artist/tutors include Cerisse Palalagi, Grace Taylor, Chris Ryan, Salome Tanuvasa and Cora-Allan Wickliffe. Artstation Auckland 28 July. 3pm – 6pm. Tautai Annual General Meeting and social gathering. Balmoral Bowling Club, Mont le Grand Road, Mt Eden 31 July – 18 August. Drawing the Line. Includes Andy Leleisi'uao. Whitespace, Auckland 2 – 26th August. The Drifting Kite. Includes Francis Pesamino, Daniel Tautua at Nathan Homestead, Manurewa

3 August. I will Sea You In Hawaiki. Ioane Ioane. Mangere Arts Centre, Auckland 7 – 31 August. Afe-Itua. Fa’afetai Amituana’i. Abundance Gallery, Te Atatu Penisula, Auckland 18 August – 12 September. Niki Hastings McFall, Recent Work. Milford Galleries, Dunedin 28 August – 15 September. Presence. Includes Benjamin Work and Gary Silipa. Artstation, Auckland 4th September – 25th November. Immigrant Mind. Andy Leleisi’uao. TSB The Pah Homestead, Auckland 19 September – 6 October. Tai-ohua. Includes Cerisse Palalagi at Artstation, Auckland 24 September – 6 October. ‘No’o Fakataha’. Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi, Stan Wolfgramm, Kaliosaite ‘Uhila, Dagmar Dyck, Glen Wolfgramm, Terry Kolomatangi Klavenes, Kulimoeanga Stone Maka, Ane Tonga, Loa Toetu’u, Elenoa Telefoni, Sio Siasau, Czarina Wilson, Penitoa Finau, Sam Vafu, and Emily Mafileo. Mangere Arts Centre Nga Tohu o Uenuku, Mangere 29th October – 30th November. Andy Leleisi’uao. Imaginary Park. Snowhite Gallery, Unitec, Auckland

watch the Tautai Website and the Pacific Arts Diary for news of upcoming events and exhibitions

www.tautai.org

Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust receives major public funding from Creative New Zealand and also receives significant funding from ASB Community Trust


June 2012