2001 - Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim - Te Pae O Te Moananui A Kiwa   

McPherson Gallery, Auckland. 15 May - 2 June 2001

Brooke Gifford Gallery, Christchurch.

Simmonds Gallery, London. 11 April - 24 May 2002

Curated by Fatu Feu'u

Essay below by Ngarino Ellis 

Talofa lava,

E maumua ona viia lei Atua ole lagi male lalolagi

Ile lagi sautua fitu

Ile lagi sautua iva

E faatulou ia Tagaloa

E faatulou ia Tane

E faatulou ia Rongo

Aumai se manuia

Faa manuia mai I galuega a matou lima

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When we think of medallion art, we envisage coinage of the European, dated back to the Roman Empire and Christianity, the golden era of Spanish exploits of the New World, and also, war medals of the first and second world wars.
But when we seek an equivalent to the medallion in the Pacific, we should examine the constructs of breastplates, of seashells, turtle shells, whales teeth, wood and weaving of coconut sennit or sometimes braided human hair which binds them.
Some of the patterns on these breastplates go back to 3000-4000 years, to the patterns found on Lapita pottery. Other patterns resemble ancient art od body decoration found on Samoan male and female tatau.
Their origin and usage are of great importance to the Pacific culture. This is built on exchange and family support, and for gifting during events such as births, weddings, funeral and journeys. It is an ongoing tradition as in western coinage.
Today, Pacific artists have adapted to change and accepted the challenge working with modern material available to them through their training in art schools or in commercial work.
 The casting process in bronze, and the subsequent editions of these medallions, are a problem for some Pacific artists. They feel that by producing the multiple, the significance and mana of the original is altered.
It is the first time in New Zealand that we have struck a balance in displaying medallions of Pacific and European artists together in a major exhibition in Auckland, coined as the ‘Big Apple’ of Pacific Art.
I am honoured to curate this ‘Pacific Rim – Te Pae O Te Moananui a Kiwa’ exhibition which will have its first showing at the McPherson Gallery, Vulcan Lane Auckland. I hope this exhibition helps us to understand and appreciate the differences in the values of Pacific European Artists in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Faafetai Lava

La manuia

Fatu Feu’u, Curator