Last night we were lucky to attend the opening of ‘The Long Waves of Our Ocean’ exhibition at the National Library of New Zealand.
Five early career artists responded to works from five great poets of Aotearoa New Zealand, including a poem by Albert Wendt. His two daughters spoke at the opening, reading his poem and telling what it was like to be raised in his family amongst his literary and artistic friends.
At university I read Albert Wendt’s book ‘Leaves of the Banyan Tree’. It was a personally important book for me to read. It gave a window to a world I knew very little of, despite it being part of my heritage.
My Samoan grandmother died when I was a baby, and while it was present in our upbringing, we had little influence from our Samoan heritage. When I was a young woman my father apologised that he hadn’t been able to raise us with the language – it wasn’t encouraged when he was a child so he hadn’t learnt. Like so many migrant languages it wasn’t viewed as beneficial and has led to our generational gaps in competency.
After the opening we went in to view the exhibition. I found myself enjoying one of the works alongside his two daughters and the eldest engaged me in conversation. I got to tell her about the window her father’s book had given me and she told me about growing up in a household where Prime Minister’s would come to stay, and where her father’s friends were the likes of Ralph Hotare and Sam Hunt. It was amazing. She encouraged me to visit Samoa, and thanked me for sharing my story about her father. I left the exhibition feeling connected, humbled and inspired.
Thank you Tim for the opportunity to attend. You have reopened a window.
On 31 December 2020 we returned from the UK to New Zealand. The new variant had sent ripples of fear across the world. Countries were closing their borders to the UK and its 3rd lockdown was imminent. With family and friends curious about our experience I decided to create a diary of our 14 days in NZ managed isolation (MI).
Managed isolation doesn’t align to everyone’s values, but it is what NZ has chosen to do in response to the pandemic. For arrivals there is no secret this is what you are expected to do. In fact you can’t board a plane here without proof you have a place booked in an isolation hotel. For the date your flight lands.
In return Kiwis live in a island utopia. While other countries are in lockdown, Kiwis are hedonistically experiencing a near-as-normal summer with music festivals and whanau/family gatherings. And they can give hugs.
You can read about our experience on the NZ border here.
Plans for 2020 involve curating Set in Stone, my first show for the brilliant artist-led organisation ArtCan. The show was originally scheduled to take place during the summer at the lovely 44AD gallery in Bath. The gallery show has been postponed until February 2021 with a virtual pre-exhibition taking place in October. The PV and Curators talk is on 14th October. RSVP for the PV zoom link at firstname.lastname@example.org
Through Your Eyes
I was delighted to have my photograph ‘Through Your Eyes’ feature on the marketing poster for Courtyard Arts & Hertford Theatre Gallery’s Poetry & Photography exhibition in Oct/Nov 2019.
‘It is a very arresting image – we’re delighted to feature it in the show!’ – Courtyard Arts
Sixteen Sunsets/Sixteen Sunrises
In 2018 I was delighted to have my photograph used as the basis for the inside album cover image for dub artist Misled Covoy’s autumn releaseSixteen Sunsets. The album is accompanied by stunning visuals for each soundtrack. (I have a sneaky rather grumpy cameo appearance in one of these)
The image was subsequently remixed for the front cover of Sixteen Sunrisesreleased in May 2020 by Misled Convoy featuring re-rubs by Adrian Sherwood and Uncle Fester on Acid.