Pacific Studies Teaching Fellow to curate at new exhibition
Involvement in the first major group exhibition of contemporary Pacific art held in New Zealand since 1994 is something Nina Tonga, Professional Teaching Fellow at the Centre for Pacific Studies and PhD student in the Art History Department, is relishing.
Nina says the exhibition is significant because it represents the gallery’s first in-house generated show since it reopened in 2011 and signals its strong commitment to the Pacific communities of Auckland.
“There hasn’t been a major group exhibition of contemporary Pacific art held in New Zealand since 1994 so I’m very excited to be part of the team involved in this project whose patrons include Dr Caroline Vercoe from our Art History Department.”
Acknowledging and celebrating the contribution Pacific art and culture makes to Auckland, Home AKL – which opens on 7 July - includes work by 28 artists with heritage links to the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu.
Nina says one of the most innovative aspects of the project is the formation of a curatorium of three Pacific curators, led by Auckland Art Gallery Senior Curator, Ron Brownson.
“This is a dynamic form of curating because we’ve been able to draw on the specialisations of each curator. Part of my role has been to advise on the use of social media which ties into my PhD research of ‘ethnic avatars’ and the use of internet applications as a contemporary art medium,” she says.
The exhibition features artworks that examine the concepts of home and belonging and includes artists such as Lonnie Hutchinson, Ioane Ioane, Shigeyuki Kihara, Andy Leleisi’uao, Paul Tangata, Teuane Tibbo, Leilani Kake, Janet Lilo and Siliga David Setoga.
Home AKL is open at the Auckland Art Gallery until 22 October 2012.