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Nanette Lela’ulu awarded Cook Is Artist Residency

Nanette Lela’ulu awarded Cook Islands Artists’ Residency

Painting portraits and depicting the histories of people living in the Cook Islands is the next project of Auckland artist Nanette Lela’ulu, who will take up the three-month Cook Islands Artists’ Residency next month.

Awarded by the Pacific Arts Committee of Creative New Zealand, the annual residency provides the selected artist with the opportunity to develop a body of work, culminating in an exhibition in Rarotonga. The artist is also expected to work with local artists and students.

Lela’ulu, a New Zealand-born artist of Samoan heritage, has just completed her masters degree in arts therapy. She has been painting for the past 16 years and her work has been exhibited in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, New Caledonia and Europe.

“I want to spend time with the local people, listening to their stories and their memories,” Lela’ulu says. “Being able to sit down and spend time with these people will be an amazing opportunity and a real privilege.

“I’m really excited about the residency and the time it will give me to explore new realms. Most of all, it’s a chance for me to learn about people’s lives and give something back to the community that I will be living in for three months.”

Lela’ulu is the sixth Pacific artist to take up the three-month residency in Rarotonga. Pele Walker, Chair of the Pacific Arts Committee, says that the residency continues to support talented Pacific artists wanting to create new work and also contribute to the local arts community.

“The residency has been extremely successful in building links between New Zealand and the Cook Islands,” Ms Walker says. “I believe Nanette will thrive in the new cultural environment and make a valuable contribution to the vibrant visual arts scene in the Cook Islands.”

The Pacific Arts Committee established the Cook Islands Artists’ Residency in 2001. It is

open to visual artists of Pacific heritage living, working and exhibiting in New Zealand.

The Committee administers the residency, covers the costs of the airfares and materials, and provides a $3000 a month stipend. The Cook Islands Ministry of Cultural Development provides studio space and other support while the artist is in the Cook Islands.


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