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Pop Meets Pasifika Culture In MIT Student’s Work

Pop meets Pasifika culture in MIT arts student’s prize-winning Westfield work

The combination of culture, life experience and people culminate in an autobiographical account of young Manukau School of Visual Arts (MSVA) student Danielle Meredith’s prize-winning work.

Danielle (22) is one of four Manukau Institute of Technology MSVA Year 4 students commissioned by Westfield to produce work for the newly completed development at Westfield Manukau City located in the heart of Manukau City. White Sunday (2006), Uso (2006) and Ha'apai/Ngati Porou Twinz (2007).

Danielle says she was delighted to be chosen to exhibit at the Westfield Manukau City Shopping Centre as the opportunity will offer her considerable professional exposure.

“Most importantly,” says Danielle, “this will also give the people of the community the chance to see my work from their own perspective, connecting with my paintings and taking away something positive from them. I hope the exhibition will open up new opportunities such as being commissioned for art work, networking and new business opportunities.”

Danielle’s passion for popular culture also comes through in her vivid, Pop Art like images, as she contrasts the dynamic concept of globalisation and the influence of American Hip Hop pop culture with her Samoan and Tongan roots. Danielle adds that her family is the biggest influence in her life.

“Each portrait is related to me as I draw on the concepts of kinship connections and how family comes first in my life. These are the people who inspire, influence and support me in anything and everything I do. They have moulded me into the person/artist I am today,” she says.

“My work is an autobiographical account of my life as my portraits capture and document particular moments and people,” says Danielle, adding that her paintings express the cultural and moral values of honour and respect that she has been raised with.

The decision to study art was due to a lifelong interest in art and Danielle says studying towards her Bachelor of Visual Arts degree at MSVA has helped her “grow as a person and artist conceptually and contextually”.

“Looking back from when I first started in 2004, I can see how much I have grown as an artist. MSVA has helped me to develop my contextual skills, analytical observations and ability to critique artwork. And the lecturers are amazing – they have taught me to look at the bigger picture and constantly ask myself questions to get a better perspective.”

Looking ahead, Danielle plans to continue with her painting with her ultimate goal being to have her own art gallery and curate art exhibitions across the globe.

Westfield New Zealand General Manager, Design, Rod Marler is pleased with the initiative. “Westfield is proud to be involved in this partnership with Manukau Institute of Technology's School of Visual Arts. Their students have produced art work of the highest calibre, which we are only too proud to have on display in our shopping centre.

"People from Manukau have a strong tradition of over achieving in their chosen fields, and we are proud to support the development of future leaders from the region."

All art works will be acknowledged and unveiled in a celebratory event at Westfield Manukau City early next year.


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