Archive for the ‘Don’t Pacify Me’ Category
I AM! or AM I
AM I less …because I can’t stand corned beef?
AM I less …because KFC makes me sick?
AM I less …because I don’t play rugby?
AM I less …because I question the village council?
AM I less …because I laugh at the church leaders?
AM I less …because I can’t stand the ministers hypocracy
AM I less …because I am not patient while they shaft us?
AM I less …because I can’t take the one hour on Sunday?
AM I less …because I question it when they take 20 hours of my weeks pay?
AM I less … because I can’t stand by, let them pacify me and not say a word?
AM I even .. Samoan?
by Siliga David Setoga
As a new curator ‘Don’t Pacify Me’ began as an opportunity to explore the current condition and direction of contemporary Pacific art: is it moving away from the ‘frangipani’ of yesterday and perhaps even the Pasifika legends of our current urban locale. Are the emerging artists pushing boundaries within the contemporary Pacific art world, following our contemporary predecessors and I if so, in what way and what are their new points of reference?
‘Don’t Pacify Me’ exhibits the artistic persuasions of eighteen senior Pacific student artists. Exhibited are varying concepts explored through different art practices, such as the politics of public space addressed in moving image work; stratagems of the painting process painstakingly painted, whilst the mundane object is elevated in a devoted effort of 100 + drawings; time, space and the memories in between are explored in thoughtful installations; a perceptive sculpture transcends the third dimension; familiar urban sites are exhibited through photography and translations of pattern and material culture through 1:1 installations. These emerging artists present a wider palette than what is currently understood thematically and to some extent aesthetically as Pacific art.
So how do we correspond to atypical work produced by artists of Pacific ancestry? Firstly acknowledge that artistic change is inevitable since it naturally correlates with the evolution of culture itself. In time, further discussions may need to inform what actually determines Pacific art as a movement: is it the Pacific aesthetic, thought or agency? For now the exemplary work of these artists speak for itself: ‘Don’t Pacify Me’. As both an entreaty and a demand, this title came after discussions with artists and is my perspective of the message. This dual statement rejects cultural art/artist stereotyping and reciprocally demands recognition simply as a fine artist.
Undeniably cultural identity is an advantageous point of difference for artists, yet for many this may become negotiable when considering vocational bearings in a wider art society. Furthermore the radical nature of the creative is to escape the predictable, which in this instance can be the Pacific Island cultural box. ‘Don’t Pacify Me’ empathizes with this on-going dilemma and asks today’s artists to explain who they are and their realities as artists.
With gratitude to Tautai Trust, St. Paul Street gallery it is an honor to present ‘Don’t Pacify Me’: the enlightening work of eighteen artists. Their loaded messages implore us to not assume but first give them space to demarcate an artistic existence that is then to be reckoned with.