Friday night Summit movies

8 06 2011

The film component of the 2011 South Auckland Pacific Arts Summit was Square Eyes, a film evening presented by Leilani Kake at Manukau Institute of Technology’s newly formed Faculty of Creative Arts premises, the Manukau School of Visual Arts.

We took the opportunity to screen some of the videos that have been made for the Pacific Arts Summit by South Auckland-based Samoan film maker, Tanu Gago.

The screening of Dan Taulapapa McMullin‘s documentary, Ula: The Garland was the feature of the evening. Although a work in progress, this important piece of Pacific art history documents interviews with a huge range of Pacific creative practitioners from the US, Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa and Aotearoa.

The trailer from Ula: The Garland – a work in progress

Congratulations Leilani and all the young film makers who had their work shown for Square Eyes and vinaka vakalevu to Manukau Institute of Technology and students for their support!


Mamas and Museums

2 05 2011

Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai presents a fantastic and unique event for the first time in the 2011 South Auckland Pacific Arts Summit. Mamas and Museums: Pacific Women’s Fine Arts and Museums Forum and Workshop looks to create mutual understanding and foster better communication between the museums sector and Pacific women fine artists. Kolokesa explains more about the project…

What is your background?

I have a background in Social Anthropology, Art History and in Museums and Heritage Studies. I also worked at Te Papa Museum as a Pacific Curator for about four years. Since leaving Te Papa in 2008, I have continued working on projects that promote, nurture and support Pacific Arts in general and Tongan Arts in particular, including curating shows at a more grassroots level.

What was the inspiration for this event?

The inspiration for this event actually developed during my time working at Te Papa. As a museum professional working with the wider Pacific communities I constantly came across a gap in the knowledge and understanding that our people have about museums. Another issue that we often came across, which is in fact universal and not confined to the Pacific only, had to do with conservation concerns relating to materials and resources used by our Pacific artists and practitioners. It was always a point of discussion and debate amongst curators, collection managers and conservators when an artwork – that was for example made of plastic, raffia or used glue and double-sided tape – was up for consideration for Te Papa’s Pacific collections. So I thought that focusing on conservation issues would provide a key point of intersection where Pacific Mamas, Museum professionals and interested participants can come together to discuss, debate and share their respective knowledge, experience  and perspectives.

What can audiences look forward to?

There will be various women artists representing a variety of island nations and in most cases representing women’s arts groups. A selection of artists/groups have been invited to display examples of their fine arts and also share with us a little bit about what they or the group do, the type and variety of art works they create and the materials and resources they use. There will also be representatives from Te Papa museum andAucklandMuseumwho will talk to us about the work they do with their respective Pacific collections. This will also include conservation workshop sessions run by the conservators from both museums. The Senior Pacific Arts Advisor from Creative New Zealand (CNZ) will also attend and present us with information on what they provide for Pacific arts and some of the upcoming initiatives they have put in place to support Pacific arts.

What do you love about working with Pacific women artists?

What I love about working with Pacific women artists of the ‘mamas’ generation, particularly those working in arts groups, is the crucial role that they play in not only maintaining and preserving our various art forms but also developing and refining these art forms to another level through sheer innovation, creativity and ingenuity. Their genuine love, passion and dedication to their art forms are a testament to the fact that some of these women artists and arts group have existed and been proactive for many, many, years, yet in most cases little or nothing is known about them in the mainstream arts world. This for me is not only inspiring but also humbling because of the very fact that these women come with such a wealth of knowledge, expertise and experience that are invested into their art practice and the fine arts that they produce.

What: Mamas and Museums: Pacific Women’s Fine Arts and Museums Forum and Workshop
Where: Manukau Institute of Technology, Visual Arts Building (Z Block), 50 Lovegrove Crescent, Otara, South Auckland
When: 10am – 4pm, Friday and Saturday, 27-28 May
Registrations Essential: Contact Nicole at Fresh Gallery Otara: 09 271 6019 /

“Square Eyes” will celebrate and validate our voices

2 04 2011

Artist and educator, Leilani Kake, is organising Square Eyes – a Pacific film night in the 2011 South Auckland Pacific Arts Summit…

Tell us why you wanted to do this event
I guess to have a free, open forum to celebrate the mediums of film and video art. With technology such as video capable mobile phones and YouTube, young people have access to creating stories and communicating them internationally. Video installation is increasingly visible in the art schools because I think the message is immediate.

Tell us about the selection process
It’s a little bit of everything from established film makers to emerging film makers to video artists. It’s about relaying no kind of hierarchy but to celebrate the kaupapa.

What do you love about seeing Pacific Island stories in the medium of video and film?
With Pacific Island stories and storytellers, there’s no one fixed Pacific Island identity – there are so many different stories and we can all celebrate them. For our younger generations, whether its stories from the Islands or New Zealand-born stories, they all relate to us. And whether you’re from South Auckland, or from California, we all have that common thread of being Pacific Island – it weaves us together. Square Eyes will celebrate and validate our voices.

Is it important that video art is seen in the context of short film and traditional filmic language?
It’s a good coat tail to ride on! Video art is so experimental so I think it’s a good way to break up a programme of short films. It might be quite hard to get an audience to come and watch video art, so it’s a good way to broaden the audience for video art. It also broadens the audience’s experience of the medium of moving image.

Pollywood Shorts happens once a year around the Auckland region, what’s on offer that’s different from Pollywood?
It’s great to have different varieties of Pacific film festivals, however our one is free! Spending money on parking, transport and entry fees is actually a luxury and it’s sad when art becomes a luxury for our communities.

Creating an opportunity with the Faculty of Creative Arts at Manukau Institute of Technology and the South Auckland Pacific Arts Summit with local audiences is a really positive move for film and video art, and arts in general in South Auckland.

Thank you, Leilani!

Catch Square Eyes from 6pm, Friday 3 June at the Faculty of Creative Arts, Z Block, Manukau Institute of Technology, Otara, South Auckland.

Free and all welcome!

Here Leilani discusses her visual arts practice with reporter Malama Papau on Tagata Pasifika [TVNZ]

November 2010

In 2008, Leilani organised the Manukau Film Festival at Metro Theatre in Mangere East. She is a passionate advocate for Pacific art and artists and is currently showing a 4-channel video installation, Ngā Hau E Whā – The Four Winds at Fresh Gallery Otara.

Square Eyes: short films + video art

1 04 2011

An evening showcasing Pacific stories, talent and wannabe Peter Jacksons, Square Eyes also features video works by recent graduates and current students of Manukau Institute of Technology.

Organiser Leilani Kake says, “when I was young my mum used to say ‘You’ll get square eyes watching too much TV’… come and watch as much as you want and enjoy a night of fresh film, video art and popcorn.”

Highlights of Square Eyes include South Auckland film maker Tanu Gago’s You Love My Fresh and Samoa-based film maker Dionne Fonoti’s Young, Gifted and Samoan.

Square Eyes is presented by Leilani Kake for the Faculty of Creative Arts, Manukau Institute of Technology.