The Hump Day Art Talks is a series of three mid-week panel discussions providing audiences with Pacific perspectives on art, creative criticism and hustling in the art game. The first one took place on Wednesday 9 May and featured an excellent panel of speakers including writer and comedian Vela Manusaute, artist and curator Leafa Janice Wilson and renowned thought leader Hufanga Dr ‘Okusitino Māhina.
Presented in partnership with Manukau Institute of Technology’s Faculty of Creative Arts, the talks take place onsite at Z Block, 50 Lovegrove Crescent, Otara. Students studying in the areas of Creative Writing, Performing and Visual Arts are a core audience for the series and have jumped on board in a big way to support the initiative.
Hufanga Dr ‘Okusitino Māhina presented a paper covering his signature approach to arts theory from a richly informed Tongan perspective. Discussing briefly the ways in which art is created, perceived and used, Dr Māhina gave audiences a strong philosophical context centralising Pacific Island ways of seeing.
Visual Arts Curator from Te Whare Taonga o Waikato – Waikato Museum, Leafa Janice Wilson, discussed her 20 year involvement in the arts and showed here a self-portrait she made when at art school in Dunedin in 1984. The mother of six explained where art fits in when children and family take over.
South Auckland writer and comedian, Vela Manusaute gave audiences insight into his background as a trained actor from Toi Whakaari, New Zealand’s leading drama school, and the beginnings of the Kila Kokonut Krew, the entertainment company established with wife and collaborator, Anapela Polataivao. Being Niuean and the differences of custom and courtesy to Tongans and Samoans had the audience giggling!
The floor was opened and panelists responded to questions with advice on encouraging students to read and write as much possible, looking at art school as a training ground for discipline and technique – essential in the industry.
Performing Arts students gifted an opening and closing performance to the event, singer Lilo impressed with his rendition of Cee Lo Green’s “Crazy” and his moving closing performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.
A big thank you to all the student volunteers and the Ngati Arty Maori and Pacific Students Association.
And to a WONDERFUL panel of speakers – their presentations were excellent and made this a very, very special event!
These photographs were produced by promising visual arts student, Sean Atavenitia who has been invited to document the entire Hump Day Art Talks series – watch this space!
Hump Day Art Talks are open to the general public; there is ample parking and talks will not be recorded, so being part of the event is pretty special!
The next event in the Hump Day Art Talks series foregrounds perspectives from the performing arts, heritage arts and curating and television and media industries – definitely not to be missed!