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Archive for the ‘New Zealander’ Category

Controversial “Kamoan” artist Andy Leleisi’uao to complete inaugural Taiwanese arts residency – profile

Posted by artradar on April 12, 2010


NEW ZEALAND-SAMOAN ARTIST PAINTING ARTS RESIDENCY TAIWAN

Socially motivated New Zealand-Samoan wraps up Taiwanese arts residency

Andy Leleisi’uao is a “Kamoan” (meaning Kiwi + Samoan, a term coined by the artist himself) artist who is the first New Zealander to be accepted for an inaugural three-month Taiwanese arts residency offered by the Asia New Zealand Foundation in partnership with the Taipei Artist Village. He completed the residency at the end of March this year, wrapping it up with a group exhibition and open studio event at the Taipei Artist Village.

Leleisi’uao began his artistic career as a widely celebrated social commentator on Samoans living in New Zealand; his paintings controversially exploring issues associated the Samoan diaspora. As he has developed his style, he has begun to both internalize and universalize these themes, exploring fantastical worlds and opening his art to a global audience.

Areatures of the Arctaur People I, 2009

His early art can be uncomfortable to view, often described by critics as confronting and controversial. In these works, his themes and intentions are obvious to the viewer; he shouts them from the canvas. During the late 1990s, Leleisi’uao’s paintings were highly politicized, socially motivated and somewhat autobiographical. He dealt obviously with the societal problems – domestic violence, poverty, unemployment and youth suicide – faced by blue-collar Pacific Island, particularly Samoan, immigrants to New Zealand.

“Leleisi’uao’s work emerges as a telling and insightful contrast to the colour, festivities and general brightness that characterizes popular media representations of Pacific Islands cultures.” Caroline Vercoe MA, Senior Lecturer, University of Auckland

The Immigrant, 1997

Pacific Island communities are generally strongly Christian and Leleisi’uao often highlighted the negative impact of the church on Samoan families, painting expressionistic pastors getting richer as communities get poorer. This focus on the negative albeit real issues faced by Pacific Islanders living in New Zealand is something that at times put him at odds with local communities.

“My early work in Samoan diaspora was necessary for self-development. It is a universal theme amongst concerns such as racism, domestic violence [and] suicide. I was in an environment and position in which these issues needed to be addressed and I used my vocation to create such works.” Andy Leleisi’uao, 2010

Angel of Falo, 2000

Since the early 2000s, however, Leleisi’uao has moderated and universalized his voice, shifting his painting focus and style. His most recent paintings are far less direct in their presentation of the painter’s ambitions and motivations. While still dealing with issues of social dislocation, he utilizes mythology and spiritualism to conjure up alternate universes populated with fantastical creatures.

“In these more recent works though the voice is more moderated and rather than a Pacific voice the works have a more universal theme of social and moral dysfunction and alienation.” John Daly, National Business Review, 2009

A critic described paintings in 2009 exhibition Le Onoeva – Misunderstood Aitu as “Armageddon-like, with gods and demons bringing saviour and damnation to a waiting populace,” while many others noted the recent moderation of his style.

“My role has changed over the years. My obligations towards social and political issues remain but at the moment I am on a cryptid journey I am really enjoying.” Andy Leleisi’uao, 2010

Though reportedly toned-down, Leleisi’uao’s newer representations still manage to stir public opinion; as reported in 2009 in the National Business Review, a commissioned public mural project planned for a community centre in South Auckland, New Zealand, came to a halt due to local community backlash.

Andy Leleisi’uao is represented by Whitespace (Auckland, New Zealand) and BCA (Raratongo, Cook Islands). This year, he has solo exhibitions in various major cities in Auckland and group exhibitions in Taiwan and New York. He recently won the coveted 2010 McCahon Arts Residency. His works are collected by major art museums and institutions worldwide including Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland University Collection, BCA Collection, Casula Powerhouse, Chartwell Trust Collection, Frankfurt Museum, Ilam University Collection, James Wallace Trust Collection, Manukau City Collection, Pataka Museum of Arts and Cultures and Te Papa, Museum of New Zealand.

KN/KCE

Related Topics: spirituality in art, myth figures in art, New Zealand artists

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Posted in Migration, Mythical figures, New Zealander, Painting, Profiles, Residencies, Samoan, Social, Spiritual, Taiwan | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Lisa Reihana’s electronic Maori art at Anna Landa new media biennial 2009 Australia – video

Posted by artradar on July 9, 2009


NEW ZEALAND DIGITAL ART AUSTRALIA

Combining ancestral culture and slow art with new media

Mâori artist Lisa Reihana (born New Zealand 1964, lives  Auckland) has produced an intriguing and inspiring body of work collectively called Digital marae (2001,2008) which is now on show in Sydney at the Art Gallery of New South Wales as part of the new media biennial, the Anna Landa award.

Reihana by her own admission likes to work slowly so she is giving herself until 2020 to complete this piece which will comprise life size prints of female, male and transgender figures/deities who will be exhibited  between panels of digitally-manipulated patterns taken from 70s textiles and recombined to form Maori patterns.

She believes that there is “far too much stuff” in the world and that each work that she makes must have a strong reason for being.

As well as a fascination with gender, Reihana’s works reference the inclusiveness of the Maori culture in which there is space for everyone.

The marae is an ancestral home for Mâori people, a meeting space and a site for exchange. Her life-size digital prints depict friends and family dressed as male deities (atua) that appear in Mâori creation stories. This Digital marae is a double of the original meeting house, but it is also a transformation.

Lisa Reihana

See the works being hung and listen to Reihana explain how Maori idiom acts as inspiration for her contemporary new media artworks: the surfboard under the feet of Maui, the stream of city lights in the background of Urban warrior, the astronomical imagery in Ranginui and the 19th-century suit in the cross-gendered Dandy.

Video Anna Landa award 2009 Lisa Reihana

See also the excellent 10 minute video made in 2007 for the Elizabeth A. Sackler foundation for Feminist Art in which Reihanna talks about the Mahuika, the fire goddess and other works.

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About the Anna Landa Award

Art Gallery of New South Wales, The Domain, Sydney, Australia – 7 May – 19 July 2009

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is currently exhibiting Double Take, the third Anne Landa Award, which was the first biennial exhibition in Australia for moving image and new media work, with an acquisitive award of $25 000. The award was established in honour of Anne Landa, a Trustee of the Art Gallery of NSW who died in 2002.

The artists in this year’s exhibition consider what it means to transform the self into another persona – as a doppelgänger, a karaoke performer, an avatar, a robot or a fantasy alter-ego.

  • TV Moore, Gabriella Mangano and Silvana Mangano create private performances on video
  • Lisa Reihana’s digital photographs present friends and family posing as ancestral Mâori spirit figures
  • Mari Velonaki creates robotic avatars
  • Cao Fei and Phil Collins bring together loose collectives of people around a desire to adopt imaginary identities

These performances are not the pure fantasies of popular digital culture, where it is so easy to masquerade as another persona. These artists are more circumspect. Real time lurks within. This is the ‘double’ – because while the performances have a presence in our everyday world, they also take an imaginary guise. They shuttle between two worlds: reality and fantasy.

The exhibition includes video, interactive robotics and digital photography.

Watch curator Victoria Lynn talk on video about Double Take

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Posted in Electronic art, Emerging artists, Museum shows, New Media, New Zealander, Photography, Slow art, Video | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »