23 January 2011
Powerful South Auckland exhibition confronts Pacific body politics
A new exhibition presented by Fresh Gallery Otara for the Auckland Arts Festival confronts cultural attitudes towards the female body and the high rates of preventable cancers and heart disease in Pacific and Māori women. Ngā Hau E Whā – The Four Winds, is a bold and powerful video installation by Otara artist Leilani Kake, who is of Cook Island Maori (Manihiki, Rakahanga) and New Zealand Māori (Nga Puhi, Tainui) descent.
The work combines imagery of four women at different life stages; youth, pregnancy, motherhood and menopause, inviting the viewer to reflect about the Pacific female body.
Kake’s work is influenced by highly personal stories of dealing with issues of identity and culture, tradition and change. “Loving our whanau starts with loving ourselves and taking care of ourselves; physically, mentally and spiritually. We as women of the Pacific need to engage in discourse that will lower these health risk statistics and educate all our whanau.”
A 2010 New Zealand government report stated that Pacific and Māori women have been twice as likely to develop cervical cancer as other women, and their risk of dying from the illness is more than twice that for other ethnicities.
These startling statistics point to the need for greater public awareness and action; as such, the controversial content of the exhibition is deliberately intended to draw attention to the health issues of at risk women.
Exhibition curator Ema Tavola says that it is exciting to bring such a major work to the Otara community. “In terms of scale and content, this is the most significant exhibition ever produced for Fresh Gallery Otara.”
“Idealised depictions of women’s bodies in the mass media abound, while images of bodies like our own and those of our family are noticeably absent. This exhibition, with its realistic nude bodies, challenges the way that we perceive the female body.”
This exhibition contains nudity. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Entry to the exhibition is at the discretion of gallery staff.
Leilani Kake received significant funding from Creative New Zealand for this project and Fresh Gallery Otara has been supported by Toi o Manukau and Manukau School of Visual Arts (Manukau Institute of Technology) in presenting the exhibition.
What / Where / When
Ngā Hau E Whā – The Four Winds, a solo exhibition by Leilani Kake, curated by Ema Tavola
Exhibition dates: 4 March – 16 April 2011
Fresh Gallery Otara, Shop 5, 46 Fairmall, Otara Town Centre, South Auckland
In Conversation – The Taboo Body
Leilani Kake, Luisa Lefao-Setoga, Ema Tavola in conversation with Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai
12.30pm – 1.30pm, Monday 14 March Pacific Crystal Palace Spiegeltent in Festival Garden
Artist Talk / White Night
Artist’s floor talk with Leilani Kake followed by a fun night of music and entertainment with FMC VXN and friends
6pm – late, Saturday 12 March
Fresh Gallery Otara
Panel Discussion – Body, Community, Future
Four local women discuss the social health and artistic implications of Leilani Kake’s new work, Ngā Hau E Whā – The Four Winds.
Images available on request.
For more information please contact Erin Stewart 09 262 8900 x 8690