June 3 @ 10:00 am – June 28 @ 4:00 pm
South to North
3 – 28 June 2023
SOUTH-VERSED is an exciting contemporary art exhibition that showcases the dynamic and innovative works of ten contemporary artists living or closely connected to South Auckland.
This is the second consecutive iteration of SOUTH-VERSED with Iokapeta Magele-Suamasi, Jesse ‘Coco-Shakim’ Gibson, Ahota’e’iloa Toetu’u, Faleata Ualesi, Katrina Iosia being original artists from the 2022 exhibition at Fresh Gallery, Ōtara.
New faces in SOUTH-VERSED this year include Linda Va’aelua, Andy Leleisi’uao, Raymond Sagapolutele, Sione Faletau, and Diana Hu 胡梦圆 .
The title of the show reflects the unique experiences and perspectives of South Auckland and its communities, while also bridging the commonalities that connect us all as human beings.
Some of the artists are also technologists who use virtual and digital platforms to expand their practice. The artists are excited to share their work with the Devonport community, inviting everyone to experience the creativity and resilience of contemporary artists from the region. The exhibition invites visitors to explore and celebrate the diverse talents and perspectives of the contemporary art scene.
This exhibition is made possible with support from Creative New Zealand.
South to North
Linda Va’aelua is of Samoan Scottish heritage and grew up in the West Auckland suburb of Te Atatu South. With numerous successful solo and group exhibitions as well as awards in recent years, Linda describes herself as an artist, designer, fontologist and mother of a TCK (third culture kid). Linda also holds a bachelor of design in visual communication from Unitec.
Jesse “COCOSHAKIM” Gibson is a young Polynesian filmmaker/videographer and a graduate of Unitec’s Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts program, Majoring in Screen.
Jesse has collaborated in many projects in various roles including Writer/Director of an award-winning short film, Narrator and talent of a TVNZ Music Docu-series, and Videographer for various NZ on Air Emerging Pasifika Artists. Jesse is passionate about pioneering with young Pacific creatives through the “Cultural Frontier” and is a frequent collaborator with several emerging independent South Auckland collectives.
Faleata Ualesi is a self taught, Samoan artist whose hand drawn contemporary Pasefika patterns and motifs have become his current signature. The variety of contrasting thickness of lines and curves in his modern take on traditional Pasefika patterns create eye-popping optical effects. His usual choice of medium is acrylic markers on canvas but has also recently expanded to include mural art.
South Auckland Ōtara based Tongan artist Sione Faletau is a multidisciplinary artist who has an arts practice ranging from sculpture, installation, and drawing to performance. Since COVID-19, Sione has been honing his skills in the digital sound scape realm, utilizing sound as a medium to create kupesi (patterns) of his Moana Oceania Tongan heritage.
Diana Hu 胡梦圆
Diana Hu 胡梦圆 is a creative artist who immigrated from China at age 7, grew up in Mt Roskill and currently resides in Ōtara. She enjoys analogue photography and has a strong and passionate involvement, since 2005, in the freestyle street dance & hiphop community (popping and breaking). Diana is also passionate about learning/connecting with her Chinese roots, her Christian faith, and her community. All of this informs her art practice and is the source of her inspiration and expression.
Diana completed her BFA at Whitecliffe (Year 1-2) and AUT (final year) and is the co-director of ‘Street Talk’, which runs street dance battle events as well as creating media and publications.
Raymond Sagapolutele is an Aotearoa-born Samoan artist with ties to the villages of Fatuvalu in Savai’i and Saluafata in Upolu, Samoa. For Sagapolutele the camera has become a vital part of his ability to reconnect his art to his heritage as a diasporic Samoan, with cultural ties that link him to the history of the Pacific and the lands within that vast ocean.
‘The narrative may change but the intent is always the same – honest dialogue with the viewer. My style of photography is based on observation with a little bit of the unconventional, this is not to confuse or frustrate but it is a method by which I empty my head of all the stories contained within.’
Andy Leleisi’uao is one of Aotearoa’s most prominent contemporary living artists today. He is of Samoan heritage, has exhibited widely and is the recipient of numerous awards and residencies. He won the Wallace Arts Trust Paramount Award in 2017 and most recently in 2021, was awarded Senior Pacific Artist Award in the Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Awards for his contribution to Pacific art maintaining and developing his artform in Aotearoa. Leleisi’uao has been a champion of Pacific Arts and continues to be a mentor for many emerging Pacific artists.
“I’m interested in creating and exhibiting a series of drawings and watercolours on paper. During the 1960s my parents, like many of their generation, migrated to Aotearoa from Samoa. These new works will be commentaries on their generation’s experiences touching on their assimilation, sacrifice, bravery, vulnerabilities, family and racial profiling amongst other issues they faced during several decades in Aotearoa. I’m interested in depicting their generation’s struggle, trauma and successes while raising their children as well as emotionally and financially supporting family, friends and loved ones in Aotearoa and Samoa.”
Katrina Iosia is quickly emerging as a dynamic and leading female AR artist/developer in Aotearoa. As a Pasifika woman in art and tech, she has a background in visual arts & design and has traversed seamlessly into mixed reality art. Katrina has exhibited on curated digital platforms like ‘Digital Art Month’ in Paris (2021) and was a featured artist in the 2022 Vancouver Winter Arts Fest. She was recognised by Lenslist as one of the ‘8 Snapchat Lens Creators You Should Know’.
She is now a seasoned NFT creator and New Zealand’s only official Snapchat Lens creator and ambassador for AR Spectacles.
Ahotae’iloa Toetu’u is a Tongan-born artist and teacher who lives and works in South Auckland. He holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts from the University of Auckland and is a Senior Art teacher at Sir Edmund Hillary collegiate.
Toetu’u works in the medium of painting and has exhibited his works in several solo and group exhibitions in Auckland and two group exhibitions held in Tonga. Several of his works are heavily inspired by ngatu as a medium that records a time and place and particular events and histories. Many of his recent works pair kupesi with contemporary icons and silhouettes to create new conversations between the past and present.
“My works and images are drawn from my family and my Tongan heritage and culture. I saw ngatu, ta’ovala, woven mats and beautifully decorated dance attire. I took a minimal approach to the kupesi or Ngatu designs and the use of repetition of simple forms to create an illusion.”
Iokapeta Magele-Suamasi has worked in the art sector for approximately twenty years as a freelance artist, arts manager and programming. In 2020, she completed 7 years working in Outreach, Learning and Education at Auckland’s Primary Art Museum, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki (2013-2020).
She holds two Masters Degrees: MA Arts Management & Masters in Technology and now uses her art as a visual commentary whilst observing emerging technologies and other intersections of contemporary Pacific culture and digital technology.