21 October – 25 November 2017
Papakura Art Gallery
Pascal Atiga-Bridger’s artworks, which use elements of the design of the Union Jack to illustrate some of the effects of British colonisation, will be on show at Papakura Art Gallery from October 21.
“My works replace the original colours on the Union Jack with those of the Maori flag, and those of the countries of Samoa, Niue, Tahiti and Papua New Guinea. The results symbolise the connection some of these islands have with the United Kingdom through colonisation.”
The Tautai project is Atiga-Bridger’s first solo exhibition, with the artist drawing upon his extended family’s diverse cultures – with a whakapapa that includes Maori, Samoan, European and Niuean lineage. “My works in Tautua showcase my family’s ties to my Turangawaewae by being tangata whenua.”
Atiga-Bridger has been researching how indigenous flags, and traditional and contemporary art practices in Pacific nations may have been shaped by colonial influences. “This is helping me develop a deeper understanding of how to portray my family’s identity within my current works.”
American painter and printmaker, Jasper Johns is an influence on Atiga-Bridger – given Johns’ approach and choice of materials. Johns has painted more than forty works based on the United States flag, as well as paint and newspaper collage works.
“There may be some similarities in how my art works can connect with my audience, the Papakura community. Because my art will be shown in a public gallery my art is for them.” This philosophy prompted Atiga-Bridger to invite students at Redhill Primary School, which he attended as a child, to design and make their own flags at workshops at Papakura Gallery on 11 & 12 September. These works will draw upon the students’ identity and culture and be displayed in the gallery’s front window during the Tautua exhibition. The students, their teachers and parents will also be invited to a special celebration at the gallery on Saturday 28 October.
Atiga-Bridger credits a number of mentors with helping him gain the skills needed to mount Tautua – including Janet Lilo, Reina Sutton and Leilani Kake, and Avondale’s The Creative Souls Project and South Auckland’s ManaRewa collectives. “These creatives have been vital in my gaining the experience, time management and installation skills needed.”
Atiga-Bridger is a multidisciplinary visual artist in his third year of study for a Bachelor of Creative Arts [visual] at Manukau Institute of Technology’s Faculty of Creative Arts. Atiga-Bridger enjoys collaborating with fellow students and artists, and community-focused projects. He is employed by Tautai in a Tertiary Liaison role to support, and facilitate connections between, arts students across institutions – including through gallery visits, critique sessions, and tertiary exchanges.
In the lead up to his show, Pascal spoke with Radio New Zealand’s Lynn Freeman for Standing Room Only.
For the full press release download PDF here.
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