17 Jun 2016
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Placements for the three recipients of 2016’s Pasifika internships are now underway.
Designer Catherine Hunt moved from Wellington to take up internships at Auckland’s split/fountain design studio and RM Gallery; curator and producer Bonni Tamati has begun an internship at Te Uru Waitakere Gallery; and artist Jasmine Te Hira is sharing her time between Wellington’s Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Archive and Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki.
The Pasifika internship programme is funded by Creative New Zealand, delivered by Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust, and provides art practitioners with professional development opportunities to develop as arts managers and administrators.
The 20-week internships involve placing recipients with organisations able to enhance the artists’ skills, knowledge and experience, and build networks beyond their communities.
Tautai works with the interns to identify a suitable host organisation and prepare for the placement. During the placement, support is provided by respected photographic artist and community worker, Edith Amituanai, who also teaches at both Elam School of Fine Arts and Whitecliffe College of Art and Design. “I am very excited to work with both the institutions and the interns,” Edith says. “These internships are a wonderful opportunity for those who wish to pursue a career in arts administration, and a proactive way of getting more Pacific people working in that area.”
The internships are open to New Zealand artists of Pacific heritage with a tertiary qualification and/or at least three years continuous experience working as an artist, practitioner or administrator. 2012 recipients were spoken word poet Grace Taylor, performer administrator Paul Fagamalo and community artist Amiria Puia-Taylor. Several interns have been offered opportunities as a result of the internships, including the recipients of 2014 internships: curator Jodi Meadows (awarded a Marilyn Mayo internship at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki and a role at Te Uru Waitakere Gallery); artist Amiria Puia Taylor (Youth Outreach Programmer at Auckland War Memorial Museum); and writer Faith Wilson (awarded the prestigious Blumhardt Internship at The Dowse Lower Hutt).
Jodi Meadows describes her CNZ internship as “an invaluable stepping stone” into the art and museum sector. “While completing my internship at Te Uru I built knowledge and skills in many areas of the gallery, particularly in curating and education. This has since led to multiple exciting job opportunities at other art institutions.”
Amiria Puia-Taylor says her internship helped her to better understand how different sized organisations managed projects, supported artists and connected with people.
“I got to know the collections, learnt about the infrastructure, project implementation, governance, event planning, marketing, time-management, and the importance of building and maintaining relationships,” Amiria says. “My time at Auckland Museum has taught me to be realistic and to deliver. As I gain more knowledge as an arts manager, I can work with art educators to boost the number of young Pacific people involved in the arts. It’s important for institutions and organisations to strengthen that.”
Faith Wilson says the Pasifika internship was a “significant” learning experience. “I was able to be part of Aotearoa’ s biggest arts festival, The New Zealand Festival, and I learnt the ins and outs of arts management from some of the best in their field during my time there. The variety of knowledge and experience I had access to was immense. Taking part in this programme clarified my desire to work within the arts management sector as I still see there's a massive gap where Pacific artists are not being properly represented. I hope to bring the same drive to my internship at the Dowse.”
Tautai’s management of the internships reflects its successful track record of developing and delivering professional development programmes in the arts and tertiary sectors. Tautai manger Christina Jeffery is delighted with how previous interns have benefitted from the experience.
“These internships can bridge the gap between artists working solely within their communities, and having the necessary skills to break into the art establishment. They provide the opportunity for talented people from our community to spend time in institutions and to learn at first-hand about those established organisations who generously host the interns.”
“Tautai is a lead organisation facilitating the development of contemporary pacific art and artists here and internationally. Tautai has a strong knowledge of, and networks within, New Zealand arts and cultural institutions. We are committed to raising the profile of Pacific art and artists and fulfilling their aspirations to manage arts projects. These internships are an important part of achieving these objectives.”
Catherine Hunt moved to Auckland to take up her internships with split/fountain and RM Gallery. Catherine is interested in weaving design, art and education practices, and completed a Bachelor of Design Innovation (Culture + Context and Education Psychology) at Victoria University in February 2016. Catherine co-founded Elbowroom - the moving gallery, and was Tautai’s 2015 Wellington Tertiary Liaison. “I consider myself fortunate to witness, and be a part of, this movement of smart, driven and forward-thinking individuals in my generation who are building different platforms for the like-minded to stage their creative work, both locally and internationally,” Catherine says. “This internship is an opportunity for me to experience the creative ways in which the smaller, more independent ventures in Aotearoa do this on a regular basis. I’m excited to be working with, and learning from, people that are readily experimental and collaborative with their space and their approaches to co-creating in different contexts.”
Bonni Tamati has started her residency at Te Uru Waitakere Gallery, focusing on Public Programming. Bonni, who was raised and educated in Christchurch, has experience in the arts, music and creative sectors with Youth and Cultural Development, LYFE Festivals and Pacific Underground. Since moving to Auckland in 2001, Bonni has been developing skills in arts management in such areas as New Zealand Fashion Week, New Zealand Film/Television, music and Pasifika festivals. Bonni's interest across multi mediums has enabled her to facilitate various community engagements by curating exhibitions, producing entertainment, musical and charity events. Bonni's internship will enable her to refine her arts management practice, providing her with an opportunity to develop progressive strategies to enhance audience accessibility. "I’m excited about the potential for community and institutional exchange, through creative programming and agile infrastructures. I am thankful to my mentors. It’s refreshing to be a part of an inclusive team who support safe spaces and cultural fluidity." Bonni hopes to learn ways to weave together Pacifica conversations to fill public realms.
Jasmine Te Hira’s internship is being shared between time at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Archive in Wellington and with Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki. Jasmine completed a Bachelor of Design and Visual Arts (Contemporary Craft) at Unitec in 2015, during which time she was part of the Māori mentoring scholarship programme, Whai Ake. In 2016 Jasmine was awarded the Unitec Senior Scholar Award. She recently completed an internship with the Outreach Team at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, which provided insights into the institution and its programming process. “I am passionate about focusing on my practice and working towards enhancing environments for our communities within these institutional settings,” Jasmine says. “I am drawn to the dialogue between artworks and audience, the framework of institutional environments, the navigation of competing cultural practices and voices within these developing sovereign spaces of social importance.”
Edith Amituanai has been described as a, “chronicler of her cultural milieu.” Her photographic work has developed from unusual attentiveness to her immediate social world. In 2005 Edith Amituanai graduated from Unitec with a Bachelor of Design in Photography. In 2007 she was inaugural recipient of the Marti Friedlander Photographic Award and in 2008 a finalist in the Walters Prize.
Since the 1980s Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust has supported the growing number of contemporary pacific artists living in Aotearoa.
Implementing Tautai’s goals has evolved to take account of the changing art world and widening art practices.
Tautai supports the production of new and innovative work by practising artists, runs programmes for secondary and tertiary students of Pacific heritage, manages internships, and maintains a comprehensive website on pacific art and artists, www.tautai.org
Tautai occupies a unique niche in Aotearoa as an organisation facilitating the development and profile of pacific art and artists, through successfully developing and delivering projects within New Zealand arts and cultural institutions. Tautai receives ongoing major public funding from Creative New Zealand, significant funding from the Foundation North, and generous support from its Fetu Ta’i programme.
Recent examples of Tautai’s support of contemporary Pacific art include:
Lonnie Hutchinson Black Bird Gus Fisher Gallery and Dowse Art Museum
Niki Hastings-McFall’s Flock Whitespace and Fale Ula Auckland Arts Festival