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Pasifika Art Exhibition with a Difference

9th August 2018

Matua - Works of the wise, a ‘first of it’s kind’ exhibition opens tonight at Tacit Gallery as part of Hamilton’s Spark Festival.

Featuring six Pasifika Matua (elder, elder-hood) artists, this is an exhibition brought to life by Pasifika artist Leafa Krause-Wilson to celebrate and shine a light on their talent and to encourage and continue their passion for art into their golden years.

“For me personally as a curator, artist and Polynesian fafine (woman) of my own artistic trajectory. This small exhibition is a form of fa’aaloalo (Samoan for respect) and gratitude to these artists who helped to shape and inform our alternative creativities”. Says Leafa.

With no or very little formal art training these artists, who’s work is typically hidden away in home studios or garage spaces to make way for ‘real’ or ‘formal’ life - this is where their underlying passion and untapped natural talent has been able to evolve. Some call this a hobby, but to these artists it has been much more.

Manifesting through recent generations, the contribution to New Zealand creative arts is obvious as shown through each family, though more publicly known through the Urale, Krause and Ieremia links. Each having had their role in shaping NZ arts through film, music and dance to what it is today. A strong representation of Pasifika talent.

This is a celebration of their continued passion to inform, influence and inspire the natural talent and ability of Pasifika, and to indicate an era change that is now acceptable for their people to have ‘real’ and sustainable careers in the creative arts.

MATUA will feature works by:

Mama Bateseba Daniel, Si’ufaitoto’a Simanu Ieremia, Charles Krause, Etevise Nikolao, Pusi Urale and Louisa Humphry

Mama Bateseba Daniel has recently turned 85 years old and has had a prolific career in the art of tivaevae, starting at the tender age of sixteen while at home in the Islands. Over the years in her home for over 50 years in Tokoroa, Mama Daniel has taught alongside other mamas. Mama Daniel has taught a new generation of Cook Islands and New Zealand-born makers in Tokoroa with the Vainetini Tuitui Group.

Pusi Urale

King Kapisi (Bill Urale) – Hip Hop legend, Vaimaila Urale – contemporary artist, Sima Urale – film maker and Makerita Urale – actor, documentary maker and Director of Creative New Zealand Pasifika Art are noted creatives. Their creativity and ability interact with a much broader world than the Pacific can be partially traced to the free-thinking artist Pusi Vaele Urale, their mother, who encouraged critical thinking and broader cultural encounters than just within their indigenous Samoan roots. Pusi Urale is a full-time painter and was a 2018 finalist in the Wallace Art Award with this triptych in our exhibition.

Painter, Si’ufaitoto’a Simanu Ieremia Painter, first realised his passion for painting after winning an art competition at middle school in Samoa. Following a number of non-traditional art teaching roles he received a scholarship to New Zealand in the early 60’s to train as an art teacher but with the commitment and pressure to provide for his wife and young family his art took a back seat. Since his retirement he has continued to paint in his studio here in Kirikiriroa Hamilton. Among his ‘publicly known’ creative children is the founder and director of Black Grace dance company Neil Ieremia, a pioneer in New Zealand contemporary dance, Laureate and ONZM.

Louisa Humphry

Louisa is one of the foremost experts of Kiribati heritage arts based in Aotearoa who is passing on the art of traditional adornment not only to her own children, but to broader audiences in the art gallery and museum sector. Humphry is a consultant for Auckland War Memorial Museum, assisting with the correct classification and nomenclature of the Kiribati artefacts. She is passing on her creative legacy on to her own children, but is also responsible for maintaining and teaching the Kiribati weaving traditions to the New Zealand-based first and second generations.

Charles Krause and Etevise Nikolao (Krause)

The alternative thinking that exists within Leafa’s family does not come necessarily from their father Charles (Salė) Krause who spent much of his spare time in-between shifts at Kinleith, creating beauty through drawing, painting and building odd pieces of furniture from his imagination. Etevise Nikolao (Krause) mother was influential a non-conformist whose paintings come from a kind of utopic paradise. Either way, the sight of parents ‘doing art’ builds that into the norm of family culture as is the case with almost any habit-forming behaviour.

- END -

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