Social Matter Curated by Louisa Afoa
Public Share, Valasi Leota-Seiuli, Janet Lilo, Lana Lopesi, Sione Monu
Social Gathering: Saturday 19 November, 1–3pm
Join Public Share on the closing afternoon for home baked refreshments and conversation about their recent projects and plans for a future project associated with Dunedin rail.
Growing up, the word ‘social’ to me meant church socials — fundraisers for the Samoan choir that parents, aunties and uncles would attend on a Saturday night. With that is also the memory of bring-ing home suppers, a treasure trove of various cuisines including potato salad, chop suey, chicken curry, corned beef and taro.
Today, in an art context, the term social has taken on various new meanings and new ways to navigate the everyday. ’Social practice’ and ‘socially engaged art’ are not new terms for artists, curators and critics. A century ago the surrealists were creating hands on events attempting to liberate imagination. Recently more closer to home, the Auckland based collective FAFSWAG have been creating important self determining spaces for the queer brown body through art and their now iconic balls.
Social Matter is an exhibition not necessarily interested in ‘social practice’ but the idea of social as material — how ‘the social’ reveals itself and is shaped in different ways by various artists and their practices. The social will always be an integral part of art and the everyday as we as producers seek to engage with and create platforms for the communities around us.
Lana Lopesi is a multi disciplinary artist interested in social practice and print media. Lana’s Social Reader, (2016) is an ongoing research project with the aim to archive New Zealand social practice literature and ephemera. Accompanying Social Reader are posters created that talk to the archive and create a wider context of interest as they produce dialogues that think about social practice as well as socially engaged art in regards to their social reach.
Valasi Leota-Seiuli’s is interested in the idea of memory and embodied trauma. In her work work Vala au mai si ou Tina (2016) the artist has created sculptural objects made of plaster. The objects have images of five different houses transferred onto their surface, four houses depict the homes her father lived in that were all dawn raided in the 1970s while the fifth depicts the home Valasi’s father moved to in Dunedin as a result of the raids.
Sione Monu often uses Instagram (visit @sione93) as an art tool, constantly creating artworks that utilise the platform as a way of re-indigenising space as well as create accessibility for his community to engage with the works. His series of self portraits #BlanketCouture (2016) came to life due to a day of play but with only having access to the materials in his home. Although playful the use of blankets are on the artists’ body are striking and intimate as the artist challenges notions of representation and gender.
Janet Lilo also utilises social media language. Her prolific art practice explores experimental documentary and drawing processes for exhibition, performance and archive. The work Untitled (2016) is a new work that showcases Janet’s interest in documentation as a conversation and social tool for recording time, people and place. Accumulating 100 Snapchat selfies that have used the ‘dog filter’, Janet records a new direction in social media that is popular with millennial and interested in a ‘in the moment’ way of sharing and communicating.
Public Share is a group of six New Zealand artists who have a common interest in working together to engage in ideas of sharing and production. They are: Monique Redmond, Harriet Stockman, Kelsey Stankovich, Deborah Rundle, Mark Schroder and Joe Prisk. Public Share’s project Notice of Intent (2016) showcases the history of Public Share as well as inviting the audience to contribute to local knowledge. A flyer created by the collective acts as an artwork in the space as well as an invitation to a closing conversational event hosted by the collective.