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New Crops, Conversations And Illuminations: Asian Aotearoa Arts 2024 Full Programme Announcement

Ten years from its inception, Asian Aotearoa Arts (AAA) is once again proud to present our sixth public programme, AAA2024, centering Asian Tauiwi arts, whakapapa, whanaungatanga and cultural wellness in current times.

AAA2024 continues to respond to the theme of Past, Present and Futures, reflecting on and celebrating community connections developed over the past decade with free public events taking place in Pōneke Wellington between 14 April–10 May 2024.

Interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and intergenerational in focus, this artist-led festival centres Asian Aotearoa Arts innovation and excellence, growing and evolving in conversation with Māori, Pacific, Pākehā and other Tangata Tiriti.

Just as New Zealanders are learning more about Lunar New Year, this year’s AAA programme kicks off in partnership with Mabel’s Restaurant to celebrate the lesser-known Solar New Year, observed in South Asia and South East Asia, and by Burmese and Sri Lankan diaspora communities in New Zealand.

This Sunday (April 14th) sees a day of art, design, music, food, performances and readings with feature artists Brannavan Gnanalingham, Rose Lu, Lazarus Marama, Gia Espelita, DJ Prince Ferrari, Maz Hermon, and Sri Lankan and Burmese Karen Community dance groups.

Works by Otsu, Chills, Tanuki&Co, Red Letter Distro,Sabado Studios, Gabebes, Jing Hé,romesh dissanayake,Jessica Miku, Sahana Rahman, Laurence Sabrine, and Mabel’s Super Store will be on sale. There will also be family-friendly craft-activities as well as a custom street-food styled menu from Mabel's Restaurant.

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The programme of exhibitions workshops, wānanga, and talks focuses on diverse contemporary expressions of Asian art and design in Aotearoa.

“Our mahi supports artists from diverse backgrounds to lead creative conversations that challenge and nuance what Asian Aotearoa Arts might/could be. It’s difficult to explain what ‘Asian Aotearoa Arts’ is, because there is no easy answer,” says Creative Director Kerry Ann Lee.

“These three words have landed as a provocation here in Pōneke, and are pushed and pulled into a form by those with skin in the game. I think ‘Asian Aotearoa Arts’ are useful words together for right now, but hopefully the phrase has a use-by date, to make space for future understandings.”

For the first time ever, artworks by senior artist Wailin Elliott will be shown alongside those by cult punk favourite, Ant Sang in the ground-breaking group exhibition New Illuminations: 10 Years of Asian Aotearoa Arts at Massey University’s Toi Rauwhārangi College of Creative Arts. Through painting, collage, weaving, printmaking, video, drawing, illustration, graphic design, soft-sculpture, installation and artist books, this group show brings to light the invisible threads that connect us across distances – as teachers, students, peers, mentors, fans, friends, colleagues, correspondents and collaborators over the years. Other artists include Wai Ching Chan & Tessa Ma'auga, Xin Cheng, Linda Lee, Hanna Shim, H Y Chai, Emiko Sheehan, Kathryn Tsui and Robbie Handcock.

AAA has partnered with Urban Dream Brokerage for a residency at 115 Taranaki Street presenting a range of workshop activities, and an on-site art exhibition. These include Filipino Tauiwi-led events in the programme featuring a cooking and conversation workshop with Whangarei-based food sovereignty collective Soil of Cultures, an Indigenous Baybayin writing workshop with artist Jas Sabrine, and newly commissioned artwork by Queer Filipino Basayi artist Marc Conaco.

Another launch party will be the opening of Conaco’s exhibition, Nganong mahadlok ka nako? (Why are you afraid of me?) on Saturday 20 April. The same event also celebrates the launch of Satellites’ new online archive of Aotearoa Asian archive and publication project.

Other exhibitions include a zine and poster exhibition celebrating seven years of the Migrant Zine Collective at Te Pikitanga Gallery at Massey University Library, and Bhoj Bhavan 2.0, a shop front installation by artist-designers Abhi Topiwala and Bhavesh Bhuthadia, collaborating with one of Wellington’s oldest Indian Restaurants, Great India.

The programme also features Safe To Explore, an interactive vocal workshop led by Agatha Lee and Jon He, an encore screening of Hanzi: A documentary about Chinese Typography supported by Wai-te-ata Press, along with a rare glimpse into the creative cross-cultural design research and collaboration process for the identity design of Te Hekenga Taikoa , a forthcoming Chinese New Zealand history and culture website with designers Jef Wong and Liam Ooi from Designworks and Kirsten Ng from the NZ Chinese Association.

“AAA events are a time of seeing ideas spark, collaborations forming, unexpected and accidental detours of the imagination, friendships made and an unplanned hotpot of conversation. It sounds kinda over the top to say it, but history is being made here,” says Lee.

Most AAA2024 events are free and have limited capacity. The programme is welcome to all to register and attend.

Our full 2024 programme featuring more details about the events and registration links can be found at: www.aaah.org.nz/2024-programme

Huge thanks and appreciation to our funders, Creative New Zealand and Toi Rauwhārangi Massey University College of Creative Arts in continuing to support our mahi.


A South Asian & South East Asian Solar New Year Celebration [Festival + Market]
Sunday 14 April, 11am – 8pm, Mabel’s Restaurant, 66 Tory Street

New Illuminations: 10 years of Asian Aotearoa Arts [Group Exhibition + launch event]Exhibition opening event: Thursday 18 April, 5:30pm@ The Engine Room Gallery, Massey University Wellington Exhibition runs from Thurs 18 April - Friday 10 May; Opening hours: 12-4pm, Mon-Fri

Asian Aotearoa Arts 2024 & Migrant Zine Collective Presents: Object to be Restored: On Anarchival and Seven Years of Migrant Zine Collective [Exhibition]
14 April - 10 May 2024 @ Te Pikitanga Gallery, Massey University Library
Opening hours: 8am-10pm Mon-Fri & 10-6pm Sat+Sun

Marc Conaco: Nganong mahadlok ka nako? + Satellites Pōneke launch party [Exhibition + launch event]Saturday 20 April, 6pm onwards @ 115 Taranaki Street, WellingtonExhibition on until 3 May

Desire lines: Finding New paths through the Satellites Archive [Workshop]Sunday 21 April, 10am-12noon @ 115 Taranaki Street, Wellington

Nganong mahadlok ka nako? (Why are you afraid of me?): a zine-making workshop with Marc Conaco [Workshop]Sunday 21 April, 2-4.30pm @ 115 Taranaki Street, Wellington

Baybayin Workshop with Jas Sabrine [Workshop]

Monday 22 April, 1-3pm @ @ 115 Taranaki Street, Wellington (upstairs)

Safe to Explore: Interactive vocal workshop [Workshop]
Tuesday 23 April, 6-8pm @ Te Kōhure, Block 1, Toi Rauwhārangi College of Creative Arts
Massey University Wellington, Pukeahu Campus

Crops and Conversations with Soil of Cultures [Cooking Workshop + Kai & Kōrero]
Wednesday 24 April, 4-7pm: Cooking workshop + 7-8.30pm: Kai and Kōrero @ 113 Taranaki St (upstairs)

Hanzi: A Documentary on Chinese Typography + Creating a visual identity for Chinese in Aotearoa: A conversation about Te Hekenga Taikoa , a forthcoming website on Chinese New Zealand heritage and community [Screening + Public Talk].Monday 29 April, Film Screening 5-6pm + Floor Talk: 6-7:30pm @ 10A02 Theatre, Block 10 (Old Museum Building), Massey University Wellington, Pukeahu Campus

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