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Niki Hastings-McFall Polynisation new work

Niki Hastings-McFall Polynisation new work

21 June - 17 July 2005

Suggestions of colonisation and pollination abound in Niki Hastings-McFall¹s boundary pushing new exhibition/installation which is abloom with ideas about the spread of culture and the riotous vitality with which Polynesian peoples have responded to life in New Zealand.

In this new exhibition, Hastings-McFall continues with her distinctive and inventive use of deconstructed synthetic lei, taking another major step forward with her work moving off the wall to more fully occupy the gallery space.

Writing in Art New Zealand about about Parataiso II, the large wall work, shown in the Blair Street opening exhibition Gina Irish said:

"Niki Hastings-McFall's bed of glowing artificial tropical blooms triggers images of paradise: dusky maidens, magnificent sunsets, deserted islands and clear blue waters. Fragrance free, Hastings-McFall's bed of flowers presents the western view of paradise to bee superficial, a constructed reality. These fabric flowers tell the tale of urban living and migration to New Zealand, a country that for many Pacific migrants was thought to be paradise."

In her essay ŒNavigating The Light¹ Dr Karen Stevenson writes of Hastings-McFall¹s work deconstructing the lei and the clichés it sustains.

"Flowers, so benign yet so aesthetically pleasing embody a tourist icon, a cultural reality, and a conflict of interests. In some islands, the church prohibited the wearing and intertwining of flowers in young women's hair. They believed that this might have rendered them too attractive. In contrast the myth of the dusky maiden - always with a flower in her hair - available and consenting is a Western perception that has survived missionisation. Using a discarded tourist icon -- the cheap $2 lei, Niki places these petals upon a backlit perspex box to enable our scrutiny. The colours are rich and sensual and scream "Pacific." The contradictions abound. The unreal synthetic nature of tourism is highlighted and Hastings-McFall asks her viewer to draw the line between the myths and realities that make up the Pacific."

In the past year, Hastings-McFall has been included in the prestigious Paradise Now? exhibition in New York, in the Scape Art and Industry Urban Arts Biennial in Christchurch, and In Flower which was shown at Pataka, Porirua Museum of Arts and Culture and in Whangarei

On Wednesday 22 June at 12.30pm, Hastings-McFall will give a floortalk about her new exhibition and the development of her work

She is available for interview in Wellington from Monday 20 - Wednesday 22 June.


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