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Coming up on 7 July 2012 is the opening of the first major group exhibition of contemporary Pacific art developed by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.

Home AKL is a dynamic exhibition presenting works by Pacific artists, most of whom live in Auckland.

The exhibition reveals the increasingly significant role Pacific art plays inNew Zealand’s identity and cultural landscape, and includes work by more than 20 artists whose heritage derives from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu.

‘New Zealand’s contemporary Pacific art reflects many distinctive voices, stories and perspectives – it’s urban, biographical and affected by its grass-roots community,’ says the Gallery’s Senior Curator, New Zealand and Pacific Art, Ron Brownson.

Home AKL is a unique exhibition presenting work by both contemporary and heritage Pacific artists. Heritage artists use traditional techniques and media while
often incorporating modern materials in their work.’

Artwork by three generations of Pacific artists show how these practitioners use personal experience to examine concepts of ‘home’ and belonging.

A range of media, including painting, sculpture, photography, video and adornment has been selected. Alongside artwork from the Gallery’s collection and loans, Home AKL will feature 13 new commissions, five of which are heritage fine art.

Artworks include those by prominent Pacific artists – Lonnie Hutchinson, Ioane Ioane, Shigeyuki Kihara, Andy Leleisi’uao, Paul Tangata and Teuane Tibbo – and emerging talents such as Leilani Kake, Janet Lilo and Siliga David Setoga. The five heritage fine art collectives come fromFiji, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu.

HOME AKL features a magnificent painting from the Te Papa Collection – Puss Puss by Teuane Tibbo.

‘It is impossible to consider New Zealand art today without taking account of the influence of the Pacific,’ says Home AKL Associate Curator Ema Tavola of Fresh Gallery Otara. Also working with the Gallery on this exhibition are Associate Curators Nina Tonga and Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai.

Home AKL‘s opening day will be celebrated with free entry to the exhibition, music and performances. A family friendly Big Day Art will also be held with art workshops inspired by the exhibition. Over the course of Home AKL, the exhibition’s supporting visitor programme will include free artist talks, film screenings and a seminar.

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