Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Ema Tavola appointed Pacific Studies Artist in Residence

Ema Tavola appointed Pacific Studies Artist in Residence at UC

South Auckland artist Ema Tavola will be the University of Canterbury Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies Artist in Residence for 2017.

Born in Suva, Fiji, Tavola has lived and worked within the creative sector in South Auckland since 2002. Her research is practice-based and concerned with curating as a mechanism for social inclusion, centralising Pacific ways of seeing, decolonisation and exhibition making as activism. She was the founding curator of Fresh Gallery Ōtara and now talks and blogs frequently on grassroots curating and community engagement.

Tavola is set to bring her wide-ranging knowledge and skills to the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies (MBC).

“I’m thrilled to have been awarded this opportunity to dedicate time and space, and a new perspective to writing and reflecting on Pacific curatorial practice. I’m excited that this residency will give me the chance to discuss exhibition making and contemporary art with new audiences, and gain insights into the New Zealand Pacific experience outside of Auckland,” she says.

“I intend to produce a body of work including essays/texts, photography and digital content. As an artist-curator, I’d like to investigate the role of making, recording and idea visualisation in the act of curating.”
MBC director Professor Steven Ratuva says that because of the high quality of applicants, selecting the next artist in residence was a highly competitive process.

“What caught the attention of the selection committee was Ema’s unique skills, expertise and innovation. One strength which set her apart from other applicants was her multi-disciplinary approach covering diverse areas such as painting, film-making, curating, tattooing, project management, teaching, art research, creative entrepreneurship and writing,” he says.

“Ema also has an extensive network across the region, which can be used to promote Pacific art. Based on her academic discourse of decolonising Pacific Studies, she will be a great asset to the MBC’s multidisciplinary approach to Pacific research and learning.”

Tavola will start her artist’s residency in August and during her three-month tenure with MBC she aims to weave some of these multiple discourses into her work by being involved in a variety of activities.

Maternally, Tavola is fifth generation Pākehā with Irish and English ancestry, and paternally from Dravuni, Kadavu in the southern Fiji group.

“I’m pursuing the residency as a parent – coming down with my three-year-old daughter, Lanuola, and staying with family. Bringing ‘home’ with me!” she says.

Tavola has lectured on Pacific art history at Manukau Institute of Technology, and advised on exhibitions including Auckland Museum’s Taku Tāmaki: Auckland Stories South (2016) and Home AKL (2012) at Auckland Art Gallery. She holds a Master of Arts Management and a Bachelor of Visual Arts.

The artist in residency program is supported by Creative New Zealand and is aimed at supporting Pacific artists and promoting the vibrancy and verity of art from the region.

Last year’s Pacific artist in residence, John Ioane, carved eleven miniature canoes from around the Pacific. The MBC is producing a publication about the project.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

Howard Davis: Christopher Marlowe & 'The Tragedy Of Dr. Faustus'

Previous versions of 'The Devil's Pact' can be traced back to the fourth century, Marlowe deviated significantly by depicting his protagonist as unable to burn his books or repent to a merciful God in order to have his contract annulled... More>>


Gold For RNZ: Muslim Post-9/11 Series, Kim Hill Win In New York

The Radio New Zealand podcast series Public Enemy has won a gold award for excellence for its presenter, Mohamed Hassan, at the prestigious New York Festival Radio Awards announced in Manhattan today. RNZ National’s Saturday Morning host, Kim Hill, also received a gold award for Best Radio Personality. More>>

Human Rights Commission: Give Nothing To Racism

A campaign urging New Zealanders to give nothing to racism and refuse to spread intolerance has been launched by some of the country’s most well-known people. More>>

Louis Vuitton Series Win: Emirates Team NZ Will Challenge For The America’s Cup

By beating Artemis 5-2 they now take on Oracle Team USA in the America’s Cup match starting next weekend. More>>


Monterey: Rodger Fox Big Band Invited To Celebrated Festival

The Rodger Fox Big Band has received an invitation to perform at the 2017 Monterey 60th Anniversary Jazz Festival in the USA in September of this year. More>>

AntARTica: Scientist’s Painting Discovered In Antarctic Hut

The New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust has discovered an almost perfectly preserved 118 year old watercolour painting among penguin-excrement, dust and mould covered papers found in an historic hut at Cape Adare, Antarctica. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland