Monthly Archives: April 2013

21, Artist Talk: Leilani Kake


Residual Colonial Footprints: “If we can, they can. Equal is what we are” –Barbara Kruger.

Leilani’s talk I have learned that she talks about the human rights. A brief history from the sixties till now. What is happening with Pacific people? There was a massive movement around the world. There was this video about the world. You would have to do your own research, to perfect your practice. There was a Springbok tour, but Maori’s wanted to play in the SB tour. You couldn’t bring politics into sports. Racisms doesn’t exist, but if he does. It is on the streets.

Structural discrimination when a network in History, Economics, Education and Politics to strengthen your work. Be aware of what you’re going to accomplish in your life. We do have great education, but we have less equity. What is the representation of Maori point of views, within their voice. Their voice would be Te Reo Maori in the language. The difference between the positives and negatives of these stereotypes of Maori men because they don’t have a chance.

The labels of Maoris and Pacific of a fob, is that you know the ways of your people. Success of a normal 9-5 job who feeds their family and has a successful job. Especially when it comes to our cultural values. In term of knowing our history and knowing what we are doing for our future standards, it only happens through a wide spread of communication and education. March or protest Housing, Education, Healthcare, Justice systems, Wages, our children and a better future. [Ka Tirohia whakamuri, hei arattika whakamua],”Look back to be guided forward”


20, Artist Talk: Stan Lolohea on “Urban Kupesi Tattoos”


After Stan’s studies, he moved in tattooing. He is of Tongan descent, and is quiet a family man. He has in NZ for 22 years now, he hasn’t been to Tongan. He does a lot of images, like Photography. He practices a wide way of style. He has done Tattoos for 3 years. He is influenced by different artists, but he didn’t bring in their work because of their copyrights.

The Problematic term, as a Tongan Tattooist, but Tongan tattooing is more of a mix, motifs, especially Tongans, their influences is by Samoans. He has a renaissance art background, he had done sculptors, which was a big highlight of his work with his religious beliefs. How he depicted religion. Because it was a cool way of doing it, where he has read a lot of tattoo books and magazine. But he doesn’t like it, because it doesn’t get into those expo’s. He doesn’t tattoo, girls because this was an agreement with his wife. There are certain tattoos he wouldn’t do, because it is a bit out there. Pacific styles were apart of his practice, because he works on his own. He tries to cover every style that comes his way. People are passionate about his art, but he has to be discreet about the tattoos he is asked about doing. Like, Mr Cartoon. Most of the people, he does tattoos for are mostly Pacific Islanders, a few European people, the rest were from around this area. Another work from Mr Cartoon, on the left, it is a common feel that people get these. Having two opposite lifestyle merging into one.

His GREY WORK, is highly done by Biker Gangs, which is terrifying. What people want, what they want to identify is a form of identity and the image intervenes  in the process. The relationship you and the world. He did work on The Virgin Mary, to say something about themselves without learning the work was about. Arm, chest, head and legs which is where he works on mostly. In a comic perspective is culture to them, you see this picture and he doesn’t have any culture that is in relation to him or whatever. All the tattoos that Stan projects, is mostly about all his clients coming up with their personal values of someone in their lives who has died. There are some that are sad stories. On one arm, who have a islander side and then the other would have other symbols to relate to themselves. It is apart of your identity, your experience, they follow of what they have learnt throughout their years. It speaks about them, in the ‘here and now’ which this one client of his has a clown with a sad face, and then a clock on his heart. He had regrets, and this one was a league player. He was going through a few struggles where his father was a minster and want the tattoo to the tell a different story about himself. He was getting out there and playing for the likes of his life.

PIN-UP ANGELS, a lot of guys come in and have many desires amongst the American Culture, but they are islanders. They still maintain that level of respect with the females in their families, that is a little respectful so he added some wings, as a joke. He came back a month after and then he added Jesus on it. He started getting into a lot of island tattoos. Two years ago, he worked in a Tattoo shop in Sylvia Park. Another Tattoo artist had told him to do something similar to what he was doing. It was bad advice, but he left anyway. He started doing Maori art, but he did mostly Pacific Art. He did some work for a South African guy where he did a design for him. He was close with his grandfather, both of them passed away, so he did something about that. This is quote a mixture of what he did, after his studies, very sacred.

The Maori motif represents the journey, he took in his life. The weaving represents family, on the map. The spear, Samoan protection, warrior-like. The islands patterns for him, clients want him to just do Tongan designs. People have different identities, it just looks better, the designs are a mixture of Tongan and Samoan ones. Islanders are trying to find new ways, it deepens in your connection to the culture which had the effects, by a mechanical influences. He did one guy, who was Australian that wanted a coconut tree because of his island friends and a stick figure flying down. Another guy who was German, his sister’s boyfriend, he wanted some island tattoos because of his brother-in-law. A friend of his, he went to school together. Wesley College Chapel, its’ a boarding school. A Methodist school, but during the day its’ like any other school. Another islanders in Sydney join those street gangs, Stan has noticed that these people have gang designs, these people were serious. One, had the Sydney Opera House and the Sky Tower.

From the QUESTIONS, Stan charges by piece in NZ, but when he goes to Australia he charges by the hour. Because he gets paid more. He taught himself, when he first started, so he would get someone else to fix up his tattoo. The type of work he wanted to get into, he wanted to be a Curator, between the galleries and then he finished his masters. He went job hunting for a whole year going interviews, that he was qualified but he didn’t have any experience. After he graduated, he wanted to go to Art School, but it didn’t really work out so he started tattooing. He has never used any traditional tools, but he is passionate about it, but he has to feed his family and spend time with his kids. He will have some days, where he would do it. The weirdest piece would mostly be the head, he likes keeping to himself. If any wanted old school patterns, he wouldn’t do those ones that come from other art forms. Because then he will mix it and those black lines, those island styles they have. The teeth, the turtle, the stingray, and many more. He doesn’t have any many to what these patterns actually mean. He works in Mt. Roskill and has worked their for over a year now. He is very successful in his work.

18, Curating Pacific Art


Being a Curator means to take care as a manger or a overseer. A Curator sits in between the art and the audience. They listen, stay focused and communicate with others who think about their experience art forms. Jim Vivieaere [1947-2011] had trained as an artist, how an audience experiences a gallery. The audience becomes a performer through their Art. There has to be a reason. What is the theme??? The book??? The organisation??? to treat their work as if you were a midwife looking after its’ baby. As I have said, the Curator is in between the art and the audience. So, of course, they are going to touch each other. Think of it as a Western Musem, telling stories through art. i.e.; Vaka Moana, the Voyages of The Pacific Ancestors. This was a theory of Taiwan. Immigrating its’ culture production that travelled for three years. It gave them big money, arcadaemia. Experts from all over helped publish the book. There are also essays of the Pacific, design a font, to represent South Auckland or the Pacific Migration.

Sculptors couldn’t understand, because it wasn’t irrelevant. They developed a theory or the idea of values in the community. Tanbora, a fijian object, wearing a design that effected our time and values and importance. This knowledge involved hair, only by man. Like tattoos, Tongan ones are similar to Samoan one, Stan Lolohea gave a talk about his work. The laughter, the language and behavior of how they respond to the art??? What is their voice? How is the audience behaving. So what does the Pacific understand about this? Most have grills or golden teeth as a symbol to recognize themselves as a Pacific individual. Leilani Kake son’s hair was demonstrated as an art form. Boys kept their hair neat and couldn’t cut it until a certain age, because it was tradition. A black chair in the front, people come up to cut the hair, there would be a Tapu basket, just to leave it there. It never was moved. In other ways, a tongan girl would do their dance, 22m tapa cloth and people would come up and give her money… then they would get up and dance with her.

Pechakucha Night, [2011] – this would be Pacific Food, Hospitality and a welcome to the community. A protocol, interface to understand the space and neutralise a meeting or Exihbition is a celebration. Opening, [2007] – In a church, we pray [opening & closing] this is how you respond to a celebration. Maka Tu’u Taha, with buckets on water, you sit in circle and the minster says a prayer, after gathering they behave in this space.

Milk World, [2007] Samiu Napa’a is a Tongan artist who made this work in a Milk Factory where he worked, out of two worlds. Pacific comes to NZ, like the Land of Milk & Honey – a reference to the Bible. It smells and you feel it. The Tongan language was stronger than Samoan. As if it was a production line, two things on the side were some weird frames he found in the Organic.

Glenda Vilisoni made Untitled, [2007] – this was found objects from the Organic It was an expressive painting, you could read it and understand it, because it showed visual language. She also did a piece of work on tinfoil that looked like a family tree of some sort. It looked amazing. She did another one with hair cutting, using rat tails she collected from her friends. It was value of what she was trying to do. This happened during the Tropical Cyclone, which is why I understood why she did this. She taped the frame over the hair.

She also did another work on ‘Bloodlines & reConnections’ this was an outdoor kitchen. I had seen one of these before, because my neighbor has them in her frontyard which I didn’t understand at first, until I heard about this in class. I found it quite interesting. Although, my neighbor is Tongan and her kids and I are best friends with – which is good for me.

17, Marianna Ellingson Response


Ellingson is a Papa New Guinean Officer, of Tourism in the Arts & Pacific Culture.

From a clip I found on YouTube, yet again. I though that I would make a response to this. So here it goes. She talked about Joycelin Leahy as a Curator trying to find Pacific Artists a gallery to set up their work. The area that no one pays attention to, certainly doesn’t pay much attention to, but it holds people together. It’s a really goof thing. Joycelin has done this, as a passion because the Government has told her to do it.

Stephen Buntrock is one example. Amongst these admiring the work, he is one who taught one of the artists. These were some of his students work on the wall in the galleries, he visited in another country. He goes on saying, that his students deserve to sell their work in Brisbane, because it is a fabulous place. Joycelin wasn’t worried about the supply side of the business. In the network, she made and met 50 artists from across the Pacific, who are Contemporary artists, where she is out to prove to these galleries that have rejected her attempts to be an agent. They were wrong.

“They could sell the work, just to get it from me. I’ll sell them myself” says Leahy.
Contemporary Artists love their own outlet in Australia.

16, Contemporary Pacidic Art finds Australian Audience Response


by Joycelin Leahy [a Curator, Beyond Pacific Art]from a YouTube clip

She is of Papa New Guinean descent, who completed a master’s degree in Museum Studies. Her interests were art, of course. It wasn’t easy going to another country, she set her culture down their way. She was trying to get galleries in Oz to promote Pacific Artists, she kept getting told NO! She was going around with the art, physically to go to galleries all over Brisbane. And again, they said NO! They said, one back to send the details, she’s lived in Brisbane for 8 years now.

It was tough for her because it was a big Pacific Community that people have lived in the Pacific Islands and Papa New Guinea, they were interested and the would buy the art. There were commissioned works based around the theme of environmental threats to the Pacific, like Mining Industries, that affected the land. PNG land was lost.

One painting was from a Fijian Artist named James Mason Lee. Silver Boy, his view on climate change of the major environmental changes has changed the world. There was a good turn out to the opening and the tourists of the culture, weren’t enough attention or the potential to the artistic creativity in helping PNG developments.

15, Creative Native of Tanu Gago & Tanu’s Artist Talk @ TMCL


Personal Note: Tanu Gago is as a Visual Artist, he is a Film Maker, Photographer who works with Moving Image and Photography. Gago works as a Creative Director mostly, he puts together commercial photography in a stylists – all images are from his local community. His work is based around Gender & Sexuality. How young pacific males into spaces in community. Pacific Island spaces, he looks at the relationships in that one space. He was inspired by Western Popular Culture, contributions to NZ Popular culture was his Pacific Identity and Presence. He did work in his sister’s garage as a teenager/young male. His friend’s house too, her family home, which was the first time he entered spaces. It reminded him of Samoa and how they decorate the vales. Themes were quite challenging for him, because some members of the community. It was important for him to represent these people correctly, especially his culture and in a matter or manner they were in agreement with him. I really liked this YouTube clip, he used this at his artist talk in Manurewa.


My Response to his ARTIST TALK: As I have said before, Gago is a Visual Artist who works with Moving Image and Photography, Tanu also had his talk at Te Matariki Clendon Library in Manurewa. My class took a half-hour drive up there. We all had a splendid time. Tanu talked about his work there. It was very packed, everyone asked many questions, which he answered very well in-depth that I really enjoyed listening to how his process of developing his art-work from the screen to the photography in wooden frame on a wall. The ones I found interesting was “YOU LOVE MY FRESH” [2010] he used still images to tell his story about South Auckland Pacific People, his view of his culture.

Team Poly, was about his Samoan Heritage, his cultural identity. In Popular culture, his versions, his base line of inspirations that was very complex. The differences between “Men and Women, whether it was diverse and changes to its’ Samoan culture, to capture that space between them.” This stops becoming cut, and becomes Photography in a presentation. The power towards Representation, as authentic as it is to him. This becomes the artist. It’s important to the Pacific. There are rights and there are wrongs. They dominate the culture, as to saying, “What is Pacific Art?”

On Fresh TV, he talked about how he dedicated himself to his culture. How culture is considered and how it reinforces the identity as a Samoan Fa’afafine Artist. Pacific Islanders are the most talked people when it comes to tattoos. It gives them the term, Pacific Islandness. The entire culture, its culture and fashion, to financial exchange to form a personal responsibility. He did a project of writing a film, photographic stories, a film in NZ, it was hard to get out there.

Gender & Sexuality, He got involved and joined the conversations.
He maintained this creative activity and managed the values and importance to find the balance within his work.

14, Michel Mulipola Response


Michel is of Samoan descent, he is a comic bookstore clerk, a comic book artist and a Professional Wrestler. Michel found his creativity from his uncles comics, ROM Space Knight. Once, he found them, he started drawing and that is when he realised he couldn’t get enough of comics. It was his dream to make comics. He got inspiration from everything, from movies to cartoons to his family and friends, like anything and everything.

The Highlight of his accomplishments was that he had won a Facebook competition called PIMPMyLife, how could that pimp his life with $10, 000 [10 Grand], so he flew himself to San Diego, California and went to ComicCon of comic book conventions and appeared on the shortlist for DC Comics as Michel Vaili [Mulipola] and because of his artwork, he was so excited about this. His work started off a comic book character, a real life pro-wrestler, he tried out for Impact Wrestling in Auckland, under as a strong/style villain as LIGER and he’s never looked back. He won a comic book award, but felt he didn’t deserve it, so he got his mates to hijack the awards and accept it on his behalf. One of them was 6 foot 11, he held him back while the other one kicked him in the face. His mother was upset, but he said ‘it was all good’, because it was just a little fun. Liger has many lovers, but none too familiar that Michel remembers. [he laughs about]

Michel Mulipola was the first Samoan artist to have ever made comics for either Marvel or DC, or even both at the same time. He hopes to do more for them in the near future, when he gets older.