INFLUX brings together diverse artworks that collectively push and pull our understanding of the Pacific from a perspective that is much larger than Aotearoa New Zealand. The Tautai exhibition of tertiary students’ work opens at Auckland’s ST PAUL St Gallery, AUT on 23 September – 28 October 2016 and at Wellington’s PATAKA Art + Museum 20 May-13 August 2017.
INFLUX curator Ane Tonga says the exhibition reflects tertiary practice at a time when many artists begin to develop a sense of political agency. “INFLUX marks a moment where student practices within an academic context find a renewed sense of purpose, embedded within their wider political and social field. Artists such as Jasmine Togo Brisby draw our attention to the legacy of colonialisation and the complexities of the South Sea Islander identity. Further provocations can be seen in work by Pati Solomona Tyrell which makes visible Pacific narratives of LGBTQI experiences.” INFLUX also includes works by Jasmine Te Hira, John Vea, Nina Oberg Humphries, Valasi Leota-Seiuli, Shane Tu’ihalangingie, Christina Pataiali’i and Louisa Afoa, and other artists to be announced.
INFLUX is the eighth exhibition of tertiary students’ work presented by Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust and the first in a new biennial cycle that sees the exhibition open in Auckland in September 2016, then in Wellington next May – supported by an expanded public programme.
“I’m approaching this as an experienced artist and curator and as someone who, while studying at the Elam School of Fine Arts, participated in past tertiary exhibitions,” curator, artist and writer Ane Tonga says. “This provides insight into how beneficial this experience is for students – as a platform into the art world and to work with a curator where they will form ideas and drivers in their practice that extend beyond the exhibition. Like many past exhibitors, these students will go on to shape, and push the boundaries of, contemporary art in Aotearoa New Zealand.”
“Tautai provides an important platform between tertiary studies and the arts sector,” Ane Tonga says. “It does this in a variety of ways, such as mentoring with senior artists and industry professionals, providing opportunities to curate and exhibit, and sharing its expansive networks across Aotearoa and further abroad.”
“Tautai has supported me through each of these avenues which have been crucial to my professional development as an artist and created inroads into curating as a profession. Different exhibition opportunities allowed me to work with curators and exhibit work early in my career. By the time I’d graduated from Elam, I already had an exhibition history, an understanding of gallery infrastructure, and even began to build my own networks.”
“Tautai facilitates professional development, where recent graduates can learn from industry professionals, and plays an integral role in local and global art scenes. In the last ten years Tautai contributed to an increase in Pacific Island graduates across tertiary institutions, a growing number of Pacific people employed in a spectrum of roles in art galleries or art related roles, and Pacific artists included international biennial events.”
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