Vinaka vakalevu Tagata Pasifika!

22 05 2011

Very happy to have some of the Pacific Arts Summit events profiled on Tagata Pasifika [TVNZ] this week. Vinaka vakalevu Marama Papau and team!


Poems and Songs from the Underwater World at Fresh Gallery Otara!

7 05 2011

Today is the last day of Leahna Gill’s short solo exhibition, Illustrations from Poems and Songs from the Underwater World. This is the first exhibition at Fresh Gallery Otara where audiences are encouraged to touch the artwork!

Leahna uses layer upon layer of acrylic paint to form a braille-like surface which is then sealed in acrylic coating. Her works explore ancestral totems, the significance of the ocean and dreamtime; she collaborated with Fijian performance poet, Daren Kamali to create the illustrations for his self-published bilingual poetry book which was launched at Fresh Gallery Otara on Thursday 5 May.

Poems and Songs from the Underwater World features illustrations by Leahna Gill and Munro Te Whata. The book also features a CD of spoken word poetry recorded right here at Otara Music Arts Centre. All this for only $20! Email Daren Kamali directly for a copy!

Tonight is going to be… Herstoric!!

7 05 2011

Tonight is a very special custom made Pacific Sisters event right here in South Auckland!!

Pacific Sisters SOUTHSIDE: EyeKonik is only $10 on the door and promises to be a truly herstoric event! Doors open at 6.30pm, show starts at 7pm. Very limited seating! Get in early or buy your tickets TODAY from Fresh Gallery Otara or Mangere Arts Centre – Nga Tohu o Uenuku!

What: Pacific Sisters SOUTHSIDE: EyeKonik
Where: Mangere Arts Centre – Nga Tohu o Uenuku, Cnr Bader Drive + Orly Ave, Mangere Town Centre, South Auckland
When: Doors open at 6.30pm, show starts at 7pm, Saturday 7 May
Tickets: $10

Niu Sila’s celebrated all woman art collective the Pacific Sisters come together from all corners of the globe to reunite for a one night only, fresh and flash, South Auckland ‘Southside” performance.

15 years since they first formed, the sisters are reigniting their kaupapa of urban Pacific grass-roots collaboration to produce ‘Pacific Sisters’ EyeKonik, where fashion show meets performance art meets local artists’ showcase. Witness the ’21st Sentry Cyber Sista’ awaken the Po Ula…

The collective reminds their fans not to “Miss or Mister boat! – Get in with your best dressed for the legendary ‘freestyle frock action’ and after DARK funKtion.”

British Council and Toi o Manukau have enabled the core collective members to gather in New Zealand to present this unique one-night-only show.

This performance contains nudity. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Entry to the show is at the discretion of theatre staff.

Fabulous frocks! A bit of politics! Lots of tattoos + a flash of flesh!

5 05 2011

Suzanne Tamaki is a Wellington-based event producer and visual artist here in South Auckland for Pacific Sisters SOUTHSIDE: EyeKonik – a stand-out event in the Pacific Arts Summit programme. We have a chat with Suzanne about the history of the Pacific Sisters collective and this weekend’s show…

Tell us about yourself and your background…

I currently have a full-time position at Te Papa in Wellington as an Events Producer. I have my own label, Native Sista, and have worked as a freelance fashion show coordinator since 1991, which is when Pacific Sisters was formed.

What was the beginnings of Pacific Sisters?

In ’91, me and Selina Forsyth set up a warehouse in Nelson Street (Central Auckland) and had our first show, Te Hau Wairua Wahine at the Powerstation, and Rosanna Raymond was our MC. Ani O’Neill was still at Elam School of Fine Arts and was a model in the show. The show was so great and the energy was amazing. We did a couple more shows, we got on really well and decided to set up a collective, which is when Pacific Sisters formed. We combined all our energy and knowledge to create platforms for Maori and Pacific artists, performers, musicians, designers and gorgeous people.

The warehouse we set up was our base; we used to throw warehouse parties to help pay the rent. Artists like Te Kupu, Lei’d Lee, Dubhead and Tutuevera Evans would perform for us, and we’d have a cash bar, they were really great nights, lots of fun. But then we spent the money on fabric instead of rent and got kicked out, so then we moved into Rosanna’s warehouse!

When did the collective formally start working as the Pacific Sisters?

We did a lot of shows starting in 1992, quite a few in South Auckland. We did a few City shows, warehouse parties, we did stuff for Workshop and Wella Fashion – there was no Style Pasifika back then. Rosanna established a relationship with Auckland City Council to do a big Pacific fashion event, along with Feeonaa Wall, and Style Pasifika was born.

It was held in Chase Plaza and it was ah-mayzing, just packed. People started to really pay attention to Pacific fashion… they realised that it was edgy and relevant and lots of people wanted to be a part of it. It came from a place that was local, but more honest than anything on the international market. We were trying to show that we didn’t have to wear American labels, we could create our own.

So, tell us about this weekend’s event!

It has been a really fun and awesome catch up, bringing all our new styles that we’re all making, but still blending together really well. That dynamic is still there, and the fun… we’ve all matured so much, and bring a lot of really great skills back into the collaboration. We’re looking forward to being back on our stomping ground and showing something stunning! We’re still here and we still kick ass!!

What’s special about presenting this show in South Auckland?

I think that Mangere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku is gorgeous, it’s such a lovely venue to work in. We’re rapped to be there. We’ve done shows where the backstage was a toilet with no lights, so this is glamour! There’s good support around the event, everyone wants to help. There’s a really genuine excitement and enthusiasm from the Mangere crew.

And what can audiences look forward to?

Fabulous frocks! A bit of politics! Lots of tattoos… a flash of flesh… New Zealand sounds, lots of kaupapa and… a few scary moments!! So be prepared if you’re bringing your kids!

Vinaka vakalevu Suzanne and the Sisters! Can’t wait!!

What: Pacific Sisters SOUTHSIDE: EyeKonik
Where: Mangere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku
When: 7pm, Saturday 7 May
Tickets: $10 from Fresh Gallery Otara + Mangere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku

Touchy Feely Paintings at Fresh!

29 04 2011

The first exhibition of the Pacific Arts Summit is a one-week exhibition of recent works by Leahna Gill at Fresh Gallery Otara!

Leahna Gill has collaborated with Fijian performance poet Daren Kamali to create the illustrations for his bilingual poetry book, Poems and Songs from the Underwater World. Gill’s paintings explore ancestral totems, the significance of the ocean and dreamtime. Working with acrylic on canvas, she creates three dimensional textures, allowing blind people to see her works with their hands.

With Indian and Australian background, Ms Gill was born in Singapore, grew up in the United States and lived in Hawaii for over 20 years. She currently resides in Aotearoa where she finds inspiration in the landscapes, the ocean and people.

Illustrations from Poems and Songs from the Underwater World
A solo exhibition by Leahna Gill
3-7 May
Fresh Gallery Otara

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Friday, 10am – 5pm
Saturday, 8am – 2pm

Poems and Songs from the Underwater World BOOK LAUNCH
A bilingual poetry book by Daren Kamali
Thursday 5 May

For more information, contact Nicole on 09 271 6019 //

More on Poems and Songs from the Underwater World

Rosanna Raymond hits Tāmaki Makaurau!

27 04 2011

UK-based performance poet / artist / activist, Rosanna Raymond is coming to Auckland in May to participate in some excellent events around the region. Not only will she be a speaker in our Pacific Arts Summit Pecha Kucha Night AND featuring in the exciting Pacific Sisters SOUTHSIDE: EyeKonik event, she will also be delivering a workshop and two presentations through a residency with CoLab at AUT University’s Manukau and Wellesley campuses. Read more here.

Poems and Songs from the Underwater World

11 04 2011

A short chat with Daren Kamali, performance poet, youth worker and musician. Daren will launch his new bilingual poetry book, Poems and Songs from the Underwater World at Fresh Gallery Otara in the first week of the Pacific Arts Summit…

Tell us about your new book, Poems and Songs from the Underwater World

This is a book / CD compilation, a book with visual (illustrations by Leahna Gill, animations by Munro Te Whata) written words (tales, poems and songs) and a CD recording of spoken word / songs recorded at Otara Music Arts Centre (OMAC). This collection of the Underwater World expresses my connection to the ocean and the islands featuring sea creatures and island imagery that signifies important people and places in my life.

How did you meet the team (Editor – Robert Sullivan, Fijian translator – Apolonia Tamata, Illustrator – Leahna Gill) who have collaborated with you to make this project a reality?

I first met the editor of my writings Robert Sullivan last year and enrolled in his creative writing Diploma at the Faculty of Creative Arts (Manukau Institute of Technology) this year. I met Dr Apolonia Tamata (translator of my writings into Fijian) for the first time at the Pacific Arts Association Symposium in Rarotonga last August, and later got to facilitate a five day intensive indigenous workshop for her through the Fijian Trust Fund Board in Suva, Fiji, which was also funded by Creative New Zealand. I met Leahna on Facebook; after seeing her paintings on her page I knew it was appropriate for my book and she agreed so it all flowed from there. Also the other animator Munro Te Whata I met this year at the same creative writing course, I love his work, he gives a certain reality to the visuals in my book which is refreshing.

The Pacific Arts Association Symposium on Tagata Pasifika (August 2010)

With your work in published anthologies of Pacific and New Zealand poetry, it’s a real honour to host your launch here at Fresh Gallery Otara. What do you enjoy about time and space in South Auckland?

I’ve always been a Central [Auckland] boy but over the last two years, South Auckland has been my home giving me another burst of creativity energy, lighting up a fire to move forward with my visions which have inspired this combination of poetry, sound and visual arts to create something innovative like this. Thanks South Auckland and Fresh Gallery Otara for supporting my vision. I feel like I’m growing in leaps and bounds as a writer/creator since I moved south… blessup.

Where can people buy your book?

It’ll be available on the night (Thursday 5 May). I’m currently talking to a few publishers and have just sent my manuscript to Huia Publishers, fingers crossed at the mo’… hear back from them soon. Will keep everyone posted on sales and availability of product as soon as I can… Vinaka.

So… what’s next for Daren Kamali?

To push my book/CD in NZ, around the Pacific and internationally… to complete my creative writing Diploma by the end of 2011… to keep facilitating creative youth workshops, keep leading South Auckland Poets Collective into the future. Most of all stay true to my artistic visions and to who I really am as a man, a father and a believer in all things possible and positive.

Vinaka vakalevu Daren!

Daren’s first bilingual poetry book, Poems and Songs from the Underwater World launches at Fresh Gallery Otara in the first week of the Pacific Arts Summit. An exhibition of original works by Leahna Gill will also be on display from 3-7 May.

Book Launch: Poems and Songs from the Underwater World by Daren Kamali
When: 6pm, Thursday 5 May
Fresh Gallery Otara, Otara Town Centre, South Auckland

Come along and meet the poet! A free event! All welcome!