Monday, 25 August 2014

The Lab: If you were to live here...


A year ago this month the 5th Auckland Triennial, If you were to live here… closed after receiving the highest Triennial attendance to date of 90,000 visitors to its nine sites. All venues were free for the first time, which had a significant impact on attendance.

An electrifying component of the Triennial was The Lab, located in the Chartwell Gallery on the top floor of Auckland Art Gallery. An initiative of curator, Hou Hanru, who described it as ‘the brain’ of the Triennial, The Lab included an open laboratory space for interactions and dialogue between local and international communities of creators.

This month a beautiful publication, The Lab: If you were to live here… was launched at the Gallery co-published with the University of Auckland (RRP $30 available from the Gallery shop).

The Lab was a design-based trans-disciplinary laboratory offering a unique opportunity to develop Auckland’s architectural culture. A joint project between the architecture and spatial design/visual arts faculties of AUT, The University of Auckland and UNITEC, this laboratory unfolded throughout the Triennial as a series of rolling workshops, lectures, exhibitions and a roster of related events – including lectures by international guests Teddy Cruz (Estudio Cruz) and Bijoy Jain (Studio Mumbai).

The Lab’s role was to act as an intellectual catalyst considering the questions: What role do the creative disciplines play in developing the urban realm? How might they bring about a different quality of life? How might we live here, ‘better’?

Placing these speculations within our broader urban culture, The Lab sought to ignite ongoing thinking, discussion and action within our cities.

The Lab space was designed by Mike Davis, as part of his PhD research, with Sara Lee and Sasha Milojevic of the School of Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland, creating a flexible framework to purposefully, and economically, enable the exhibition of 5 distinct projects, yet giving a coherent memory and relationship between the projects; and relating two sites - the ‘operations’ or exhibition space and reference library. The exhibition design is a finalist in the 2014 Best Awards. This physical space was supported by the design team of INDEX, Jonty Valentine and Amy Yalland, and their risograph printer, who produced signage systems, event sheets on demand, produced one-off artworks and manually updated the wall panels. INDEX also designed and produced The Lab book.

Hou had expressed a desire that the work of the Triennial would leave a physical legacy or evidence of transformation in Auckland.

Kathy Waghorn, editor of The Lab publication, recalled at the book launch a number of changes and successes that had arisen out of the Lab projects:

Project 1: Muddy Urbanism, led by Kathy Waghorn and Teddy Cruz, culminated in a publication and two subsequent exhibitions – one in West Auckland, the other at Woodbury University Gallery in Los Angeles – and discussions held in The Lab with city councillors and local board representative has led to the establishment of a new trust to take on the task of developing the ‘muddy’ environment of the Whau River.

Project 2: led by emerging architect Sarosh Mulla. During the project he gave a lecture on a speculative idea for a ‘Welcome Shelter’ at the Longbush Ecosanctuary in Gisborne. The Welcome Shelter will be built before the end of the year – through the commitment of Triennial patron, Chartwell Trust, alongside 5 other financial partners and many volunteers.

Project 3: led by Carin Wilson and Rau Hoskins of UNITEC’s Te Hononga Centre for Māori Architecture and Appropriate Technologies built a Paparewa on the Auckland waterfront during 2013’s Matariki, providing a ‘real-world’ encounter and dialogue between the city, the people, and the 19 Tāmaki iwi as to the ways the tribes will reposition themselves in term of their kaitiaki roles and begin to assert their identity in the physical environment. This giant structure gained the attention of the city and has assisted much needed korero around the representation and visibility (or lack of) mana whenua in our city, and confidence that future projects will build on this kaupapa (agenda).

Project 4: AUT brought together 80 thinkers, collaborators, makers and designers to re-think the role of ‘the social’ and the ‘public’ as real spaces of conscious exchange and encounter to engender imagination and community values, through 34 projects staged over 21 days. This event has led to further projects of event based and social participatory practices including a symposium Engaging Publics/Public Engagement, 13 September, co-hosted with the Gallery.

Project 5: led by Andrew Barrie, with exhibition design by Melanie Pau, sought to address the impact of the Christchurch earthquake – using church facilities as a case study to reconsider how their land and facilities might better serve contemporary needs. During the exhibition, students presented their ideas to various Bishops, priests, representatives of parish councils, and congregation members. Following the Triennial, they continued to work with several parishes moving through the rebuilding process, eventually leading to Andrew being commissioned to design a multi-million dollar complex to replace the quake destroyed facilities of the Oxford Street Baptist Church in Christchurch.

– Louise Pether, Manager Special Exhibitions

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Curator’s response: Kalisolaite ’Uhila’s Mo’ui Tukuhausia

Presented Bruce E. Phillips, Senior Curator, Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts on 10 August 2014 at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, as part of a series of public talks in relation to the Walters Prize 2014.


This is the story of Kalisolaite ’Uhila’s project Mo‘ui Tukuhausia as it originally occurred at Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts in 2012.

I was first introduced to Kalisolaite through my friend and colleague James Pinker who had worked with him to realize Pigs in the Yard at the Mangere Arts Centre in 2011, which was his first performance in a public art gallery. Later that year I began researching for an exhibition called What do you mean, we? to be held at Te Tuhi. This exhibition aimed to explore the psychology of prejudice through the practice of artists who take on strategies to draw out suppressed bias. Artists included in the exhibition did so through social intervention, linguistic deconstruction, psychoanalysis or by working through the spectres of past trauma. Kalisolaite’s emerging practice at the time fitted well into this context and so I arranged to meet with him to explore the possibility of his inclusion.

During this meeting I learnt that he employed an experiential approach in his practice rather than the head-in-book style of research that is so much more common these days with Fine Arts graduates – ‘my library is my heart and my mind’ he would later share with me1. At this time he was engaging in opposing aspects of participatory research into homelessness by spending the odd day or night living on the street while conversely working as an inner city security guard often required to move homeless people off private property. These experiential tests would build upon his knowledge of urban survival but also of how public space is implicitly controlled via social conditioning and more overtly through forms of legal and political enforcement.

This fact was reinforced to me when he mentioned that on one such occasion of research he was ushered out of the Auckland Art Gallery due to his appearance. This story fundamentally challenged me because it revealed that those of us who are in charge of what should be thee most tolerant public institutions are also complicit in maintaining the veneer of social acceptance. Despite this, my colleagues and I took on Kalisolaite’s challenge of allowing him to live ‘homeless’ around the grounds of Te Tuhi – an action that could render Te Tuhi politically vulnerable and liable for his safety.

Kalisolaite’s inclusion in the show What do you mean, we? was important as it was the only live performative work that would engage with the public and place of Pakuranga where Te Tuhi is situated. Real time engagement with Pakuranga was integral, for it was one of the driving motivations of the exhibition.

Originally a burgeoning suburb for the white middle class of the 1970s, Pakuranga along with neighbouring areas in the precinct have since diversified demographically. Due to this tensions had been stirred up by conservative white factions of the area in opposition to Māori and also the growing Asian community. Notable moments indicative of these tensions included Pakuranga being one of three areas in New Zealand chosen by the Right Wing Resistance to distribute their ‘Asian Invasion’ pamphlets2. Other moments of controversy at the time included the resistance to a whare to be rebuilt in Howick3 and also the formation of the area’s new Super City political ward to be named after the prominent Māori Chief Te Irirangi4. Kalisolaite was aware that he was walking into a situation charged with various social and racial tensions. However, the reality of bearing witness to these tensions was something else entirely.

The duration of the piece also proved to be an integral development that was finalised only a month prior to the show opening. In a meeting, I remember trying to float the idea with Kalisolaite of periodically coming and going from Te Tuhi over the period of the exhibition. In retrospect I realise now that I was trying to tiptoe around the very real implications that actual living onsite might cause. It was Te Tuhi’s assistant curator at the time, Shannon Te Ao who argued the importance of Kalisolaite dedicating to a solid period of full time occupation: “if you are going to do this you do it full time or not at all” he said – or something to that effect. Kalisolaite agreed to this and we bit the bullet.

For Kalisolaite the action began at 6am on the 19th March, the moment when he closed the door of his house leaving his wife and daughter behind. He had only what he needed – a small bundle of belongings and just enough spare change to catch the bus to Pakuranga.

Kalisolaite told me that time stopped the moment that he walked out that door5. For Te Tuhi staff the passing of time was also altered, as we were kept busy facilitating a food bank, answering a barrage of questions, deflecting abusive confrontations with the public, and in my case sleeping with my cell phone close by in case of emergency.


On a daily basis Kalisolaite’s presence ignited responses that could have been produced by a 1950s social science experiment where the very best and worst of our local constituents were eked out. Public responses varied greatly and within a day had become instantly polarised. He was referred to as ‘that Thing!’ by one visitor, was spat on by another, and even accused of not smelling enough of ‘urine and faeces’.

Kalisolaite was periodically visited by friends, family and supporters but was on the most part left alone to exist day and night in the open like many other people do in urban centres around the globe. The necessity of learning urban survival is amongst the most insightful of his accounts to me. He told me:

A key aspect to survival is to be aware of your surroundings … I was doing a lot of sitting, a lot of observing, just listening and being aware of what was happening around the area. That was when I realised that I didn’t really need to know the time, because this was my time. By paying attention to what was going on around the area I would notice life happening like clockwork … but it is more like a shadow of time. People had the time but I was moving in their shadow. They would be moving but I was moving at my own different pace.6

This required him to develop an intimate knowledge of the area. He sought shelter from the wind and rain, located safe nooks in which to hide, and found warmth in patches of sunlight between buildings to air out his clothes. On his first day it happened to be raining and Kalisolaite told me that he saw the rain as a blessing as it forced him to think about finding shelter. He found part of an old broken tent, that we had for some reason kicking around the office, and by accumulating cardboard he established himself a sheltered spot beside the building in which to sleep.


Through this deeply attuned observation he gained a perspective on the workings of society passing around him. So well was his knowledge of the area that I found it hard to keep track of his movements.

As you can see in some of these photos he did well to linger out in the open but camouflaged in the shadows. This survival strategy was intended to protect himself against adverse attention from other people – which I find a revealing of how vulnerable the human body is to the potential physical and physiological abuse of other humans. I think about this and consider how poignant the title for the work is – Mo’ui Tukuhausia – a Tongan phrase which means life set aside.
_____________________________

While Kalisolaite’s survival was dependent upon his own deeply attuned knowledge of the area, he was in fact also dependent upon the local community for one crucial thing – to support his existence through a food bank located at Te Tuhi’s reception. This food bank was his primary food source and a very smart strategy to give the community the responsibility to keep him alive.

Te Tuhi advertised Kalisolaite’s work and the need for donated food but it took a couple of days for the idea of giving to take effect. Ultimately, it was Kalisolaite’s presence that was a trigger for people to give. Often people would strike up conversation with staff and would learn about the project and would then be compelled to give. By the start of the second week Te Tuhi received more food than Kalisolaite could eat so our Director James McCarthy started making daily donation trips to the Auckland City Mission down town.

So while Kalisolaite received heated opposition to his presence he also received overwhelming kindness and generosity. Even weeks after the performance had ended I found gifts of food left outside his tent.

It is important to note that Pakuranaga being a suburban area typically does not have many visibly homeless people. Due to this and also to recent issues of racism in the area, Kalisolaite became sensitive to the fact that people would associate his Tongan ethnicity with being poor or destitute. To avoid this racial profiling, he decided to cover his face hands and all exposed skin in black clothing so that he would simply be an unidentifiable figure.
_____________________________

From the outset Kalisolaite and I decided that the work was to be an experiment – an opportunity for him to try something radically new, to test his limits, to test Te Tuhi and to contribute a true challenge for the exhibition. As part of this experimental ethos Kalisolaite’s presence around the building changed overtime.

He decided to be mostly silent during his time at Te Tuhi but he also wanted to establish some sort of communicative engagement with the public. He started by leaving behind cardboard signs asking for spare change as he had observed others do during his research. This form of communication evolved rapidly in scale and message to the extent that Kalisolaite was beginning to take over the building with messages written in chalk and signs put up around the neighbourhood.


Kalisolaite’s signs replicated words of condemnation that had been said to him directly. Other messages were more defiant reminding people that he was indeed a human being. What was most intriguing about these signs is that they oftern were intentionally humorous and witty. "Lets do lunch u buy" said one. "Homeless attraction" and “Homeless on show $2” said others.

This sign making reached new heights when he established an impromptu homeless sign making workshop during Te Tuhi’s annual community carnival day. Kalisolaite simply sat on the ground and without saying a word children naturally gathered around him and started making signs of compassion, encouragement or statements of good will.
_____________________________


Kalisolaite was motivated to gain a lived understanding of homelessness. However, it was the provocation of his performance that triggered the enforcement of social order. As the title of the work implies, the action placed him outside of what is socially acceptable and due to this he was deemed someone to be corrected or deterred from being as he was. This reality was evident through the many police visits he received, which were the reason his performance ended a day earlier than its planned conclusion. Kalisolaite told me:

I was stopped three times by the police. They called me an ‘unusual suspect’. Each time they stopped to question me I would challenge them in very simple ways. I wasn’t intending to be smart, I just wanted to make the point that I am human and to ask the police ‘Are you human?’ – and if we are both humans, then we can talk together on equal grounds. The experience on the last day of my two weeks was the best ending to the project. I was out in the middle of the night about to write on the pavement, a statement in chalk to conclude my time. But before I wrote anything the cops turned up and I knew that this would be the end of it. The cop came up to me and I gave him my letter from Te Tuhi that explained what I was about, it was like my passport, and the cop just ripped it up and told me to move on. I realised then that they had their eye on me from the beginning, even though they were not harassing me all the time. They had their killer eyes on me from afar. So I just thought, This is it the end, I have done what I came to do. I just rang my wife to pick me up and it was over.7
_____________________________

Two years on and Kalisolaite’s original iteration of the work still strikes me as being profound for its ability to fracture the veneer of social niceties through such a passive action. In New Zealand there are some who consider it unfashionable to embrace emotion or humor in contemporary art. I don’t know why this is, perhaps it is a modernist hangover or that emotion and humour is deemed not serious or academic enough. It is also considered unfashionable to earnestly stand for a cause. However, it is for all these reasons that Kalisolaite’s work has been influential to others. I also understand that it is for these reasons that this year’s selection committee nominated this work for the Walters Prize 2014.

In art, sometimes it is the simple actions that are the hardest to execute but more often than not they are the most important and powerful. Through simplicity and humility, Kalisolaite puts his body and mind towards an artwork that has a single strong message that cuts to the heart of a complex issue that we are all responsible for and complicit in creating.

– Bruce E. Phillips, Senior Curator, Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts
_____________________________

Footnotes: 
Bruce E Phillips, ‘Discussing Mo’ui Tukuhausia’ in What do you mean, we?, Bruce E Phillips and Rebecca Lal (eds), Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, Auckland, 2012, p47, http://www.tetuhi.org.nz/downloadfile.php?filename=files/downloads/What%20do%20you%20mean%20we.pdf, accessed 21 May 2014
TVNZ One News, ‘Anti-Asian Leaflets Leave Community “Very Alarmed”’, 11 May 2011, http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/anti-asian-leaflets-leave- community-very-alarmed-4166648, accessed 20 May 2014
TVNZ Te Karere, ‘Ngai Tai in Howick Demolish Te Umupuia Meeting House’, uploaded 18 October 2010, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3963bBGIwjs, accessed 21 May 2014
TVNZ Te Karere, ‘Ngai Tai Iwi Are Happy a Ward in Auckland Will Be Called Te Irirangi’, uploaded 22 March 2010, https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=tpnTUgBYtU8, accessed 21 May 2014; Lincon Tan, Howick: Name Game Over – Now Who Will Lead’, New Zealand Herald, 25 August 2010, http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10668616, accessed 21 May 2014
Phillips. p52
ibid. p 47-8
ibid. p50

Image credits:
Kalisolaite ’Uhila
Mo’ui Tukuhausia 2012 (documentation of a two-week performance at Te Tuhi, 19 March – 1 April 2012)
Commissioned by Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, Auckland
Photos: Bruce E. Phillips

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Community Values: The Walters Prize 2014

This Walters Prize engages with the public in notable ways. A number of the artists’ projects originally took place in public, outdoors and beyond gallery walls. Additionally, some involved members of the public and were not created for gallery audiences to view in the conventional sense.

In what ways might we consider that these projects engaged with communities or with ideas of community?

Simon Denny, All You Need is Data: The DLD 2012 Conference REDUX (installation view), 2014
Simon Denny’s exhibition All You Need Is Data – The DLD 2012 Conference REDUX literally represents the ideas and aesthetics of a talkfest undertaken by international leading-edge technology thinkers. Denny quotes from the presentations of each of the conference’s participants – politicians, corporate luminaries, scientists and leaders from varied professions, including curator Hans Ulrich Obrist. Set out as a labyrinth of signage in the gallery space, All You Need Is Data re-presents 89 talks from the three-day synthesis of thinking. Denny’s work suggests that the idea of a ‘public sphere’ has been overtaken by dialogue between a select group of society. Nevertheless, evidence of this high-level platform for discussion suggests the possibility for a public or community based around ongoing and unresolved dialogue and debate, as upheld by philosophers Chantal Mouffe and Jean Luc-Nancy. In this way, Denny’s project speaks to such intellectual understandings of our social existence. 

Luke Willis Thompson, inthisholeonthisislandwhereiam (installation view), 2014
In contrast, by inviting audiences of the 2014 Walters Prize to take a taxi ride Luke Willis Thompson’s inthisholeonthisislandwhereiam confronts the viewer with the question ‘Who is your community?’ The nexus of suburban location and house with its evidence of lived experience stands in stark contrast to the Auckland Art Gallery where the viewer begins and ends their journey. Departing from the architecturally award-winning Auckland Art Gallery, Thompson’s restaged inthisholeonthisislandwhereiam plays out across a set of conflicting social values and cultural existences related to public and private spaces. If community is an interrelation of commonalities – family ties, friendships, shared interests, cultural background, histories etc – inthisholeonthisislandwhereiam reminds the viewer of the exclusive boundaries of community membership.

Maddie Leach, If you find the good oil let us know (installation view), 2012–2014
The individuals who were part of Maddie Leach’s If you find the good oil let us know could be understood to form a temporary community existing for the duration of the project. Leach’s artist’s book and website of the same name reveal traces of individuals who took part in her original art project beginning in 2012. Scientists, technicians, sign writers, photographers, newspaper editors, and letter writers to the local Taranaki newspaper, amongst others, played a part in Leach’s investigation of the composition of a barrel of ‘whale oil’. These diverse individuals were connected via the persuasive skills of the artist and the poetic spirit of her project. This commonality, amongst other communities that pre-exist for these individuals, lives on in the extension of Leach’s project for Auckland Art Gallery’s Walters Prize exhibition.

Kalisolaite ’Uhila, Mo’ui tukuhausia (installation view), 2014
 Finally, Kalisolaite ’Uhila’s Mo’ui tukuhausia, an action of living in and around the Gallery 24 hours a day, potentially engages with as well as represents local identities. ’Uhila’s project, as I understand it, questions the very nature of community. Living in and outside the Gallery for the three months of the Walters Prize exhibition, ’Uhila is a being-in-common with the group of local rough sleepers. While raising awareness of homelessness by its enactment, there is more going on in this project than an identification between ’Uhila and his co-inhabitants.

’Uhila’s project troubles stereotypes of community and belonging. On one hand, ’Uhila is an aberrant figure amongst the typical gallery demographic, a Tongan man and a potential breadwinner who is not living the urban dream. For this reason, his presence raises the question for each of us, not least myself and other Gallery staff, as to how we offer him the hospitality that means we share something in common?

These artworks ask audiences to engage with the question of how we generate our individual and formal communities, and how a public is formed at a personal and local level. Dynamic, open-ended and generative of debate, the projects in the 2014 Walters Prize open conversations about ways we live, and could live, together.

– Zara Stanhope, Principal Curator

Image credits: 

Simon Denny
All You Need is Data – The DLD 2012 Conference REDUX (installation view), 2014, from the Walters Prize 2014 exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Photo: Jennifer French 


Luke Willis Thompson 
inthisholeonthisislandwhereiam (installation view), 2014, from the Walters Prize 2014 exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 12 July – 12 October 2014. Photo: Jennifer French

Maddie Leach
If you find the good oil let us know (installation view), 2012–14, from the Walters Prize 2014 exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Photo: Jennifer French 


Kalisolaite ’Uhila
Mo'ui tukuhausia (installation view), 2014, from the Walters Prize 2014 exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 12 July – 12 October 2014. Photo: John McIver

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Kupu T-shirt project

Gallery Assistant Nicola demonstrating Wednesday's kupu, nau mai 
If you are connected to the Gallery online or have been in the Gallery recently you may have seen staff members wearing T-shirts with one of these seven Māori kupu (words) printed on them. 

kōrero, inu, nau mai, āe, whetū, manuhiri, ngutu 

As part of the Gallery’s Matariki celebrations we assigned each of these seven words to a day of the week, and people wore their T-shirt with that day’s word. This was a chance for us to learn te reo Māori collectively, practise vocalising and talking about meanings and potential uses of our chosen kupu. If you’ve seen the online images you will know people were asked to demonstrate the meaning of their kupu by taking a photograph of themselves wearing the T-shirt.

So how did this come about?

I decided while creating Matariki programming that it would be a good initiative to have the Gallery’s staff actively engage with the Māori language and generate a broader awareness of Matariki and te wiki o te reo Māori (Māori language week). Kōrero (talk, speak) was one of the five principles of my kaupapa when putting together the Matariki public programme.

I started by looking at what other organisers were running nationally for te wiki o te reo and got in touch with Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission). The organisation provided me with some great free resources to distribute and utilise as well as letting me know their plans to have kupu of te wiki (word of the week) for 52 weeks starting from Māori language week, Monday 21 July 2014.

Visitor Experience Team Leader Fan showing off a nice pair of ngutu
Our seven kupu were selected from their list of 52, so we could have kupu o te ra or word of the day for the four weeks of Matariki. Seven kupu appearing four times during the month would help to reinforce the usage and learning. The front of house management team were really supportive of the idea and we screen-printed 30 staff T-shirts for the project. I would like to thank Popo hardware for their quick turnaround and help with achieving this project.

The uptake by staff was overwhelmingly positive and it was really inspiring to see that people here were keen to invest and learn. We had 29 participants in the kupu T-shirt project, a mixture of gallery assistants, security, conservators, curators, educators and even café staff members all willing to don a t-shirt with their assigned kupu on their word’s allotted day.

This was not just about wearing a T-shirt as each participant understood they would have to know their kupu and be ready to answer and discuss what it meant with other staff members and the public. As mentioned, they were also tasked with capturing the meaning of their kupu in an image that would go online to reach to our online visitors.

Team kōrero having a tea party
Other extensions to the project came via staff-led initiatives as we progressed through the weeks, some staff learnt new phrases and kupu and actively sought to put them into use. One staff member asked that the Gallery’s closing announcement be translated into te reo to be read out along with the usually English announcement. I have also heard discussions from the front of house managers that the future staff uniforms could look to incorporate more te reo Māori into the design to foster more engagement from the public but also more learning opportunities for staff.

I feel the Gallery has really demonstrated an awareness of and commitment to te reo Māori, and that this project has been rewarding not only for staff members participating in Matariki, but also to the public who have shown awareness and engagement. I look forward to seeing this grow at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.

Definition and day of our kupu:

Monday’s kupu – kōrero 
1. (verb) (-hia,-ngia,-tia) to tell, say, speak, read, talk, address
2. (noun) speech, narrative, story, news, account, discussion, conversation, discourse

Tuesday’s kupu – inu
1. (verb) (-mia) to drink
2. (noun) drink

Wednesday’s kupu – nau mai
1. welcome

Thursday’s kupu – āe
1. (verb) to agree, give assent

Friday’s kupu – whetū
1. (noun) star, asterisk – sometimes used for other celestial bodies, eg comets

Saturday’s kupu – manuhiri
1. (noun) visitor, guest.

Sunday’s kupu – ngutu
1. (noun) lip, beak, bill, rim
2. (noun) entrance (of a cave, river, etc.), river mouth

– Martin Langdon, Toi Māori Intern

Monday, 4 August 2014

Youth Media Internship 2014: A Mentor's Perspective

Programme Mentor Jacques and AUT Media Mentor Sarah
Reflecting on the past two weeks I realise I am in awe of what we have accomplished: For a team who came together as relative strangers a mere eight days ago we have achieved one helluva lot!

From icebreakers to editing I have been impressed by the overwhelming enthusiasm invested by everyone involved. This faith in and commitment to what can, at times, be a rather chaotic process inspires me hugely and I am honoured to have been involved in such an exciting initiative.

Highlights for me would have to include watching the antics that ensued as as the interns negotiated day two's brainstorming activities, having the opportunity to share my personal journaling process with a group of fellow young creatives and of course the final day's rough cut screening.

I also thoroughly enjoyed leading the storyboarding session on day three and deeply appreciated the opportunity to further my skills as a facilitator. I am rather fanatical about storytelling and relished the chance to share my passion and experience/skills in design thinking with a group of impressionable young creatives. Interns; your creativity and confidence astounds me. Keep doing what you're doing.

The chance to work alongside the gallery's education team and wider staff was equally exciting. The experience of collaborating with such a dynamic and gifted team was certainly a privilege and I really value the insights into Gallery operations, processes, careers and philosophies I gained. The world of Art can often be somewhat secular, so to have the curtain peeled back is an incredible experience from a student perspective. A massive thanks to Selina Anderson and Mindy Catt, your energy, leadership, sheer determination and never-ending supply of hilarious bunny videos were very much appreciated.

If I were to summarise the internship experience in a single word I would have to go with: empowering. The relationships, empathy, skills, insights and confidence I have built through my involvement with this programme over the past two years are truly invaluable.

Thanks Auckland Art Gallery – you're awesome!

– Sarah Loggie, AUT Media Mentor

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Glenn Jowitt (1955–2014)


Yesterday I attended Glenn Jowitt’s funeral at the Grey Lynn Presbyterian Church on the corner of Crummer and Great North Road. The service was led with warmth, humour and reverence by the Reverend Nathan Pedro and the Reverend Mua Strickson-Pua. This well-known Church is a much cherished gathering place for Auckland’s Samoan, Tokelau and Tuvalu community. It is also one of this city’s loveliest Church centres and is sited just around the corner from Prime Road where Glenn lived for many years. 

Glenn’s mother, sister and brother were present. His niece also. They all spoke with much love and tenderness to the hundreds of friends present. It was the largest funeral gathering of any Auckland artist since the service for Don Binney at Saint Mary’s in Parnell. 

For all gathered there was a truly palpable presence of loss. Many tears were shed, many words were spoken. There were laughs and there were surprises at hearing delighting anecdotes. Glenn’s character emerged through a panoply of wonderful speeches. 

Allen, Glenn’s brother, asked me to address the gathering on behalf of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and I felt the weight of every staff member at every New Zealand Gallery and Museum on my shoulders. I had to speak in a way that expressed how united respect for this most sensitive and forward-thinking artist. In my speech, I focussed on Glenn as an artist. What follows is a sense of what I said, although I spoke to everyone much in the second person tense so that I spoke directly to Glenn…

Glenn Jowitt was a distinguished and important camera artist. Auckland’s loss is our country’s loss and his passing is the Pacific’s loss. When I learnt of Glenn Jowitt’s passing I entered a veil of memory, recalling this wonderful man, this brilliant artist and most loyal friend.

During the last decade Glenn and I spoke frequently about his on-going grapple with issues of his health. We would sometimes speak for an hour discussing what he was experiencing from and through his heart. We joked that it was Glenn’s blood machine, his heart was a living machine and his heart was a trusty yet unpredictable functionary that often held Glenn in its thrall.

Glenn would laugh about this fact but he also got angry especially when he was in a meditative mood. He knew the dilemma that his heart delivered to his life and he expected its uncertainty with wry chagrin, he experienced its demands with patient humour, with sudden annoyance and sometimes with raw disdain. It was as if he would not, he could not; deliver his future plans to any vicissitudes of chanced health. He would overcome. He had to. His many photography and publishing projects demanded it. Glenn wanted to determine an on-going life for his images and he made his projects occur simply by willing them into existence.

Glenn’s list of publications is a lengthy list and it is impressive. Read a short list that I have compiled.

Simply said, and the truth is this: no other contemporary photographer in the world created a comparable body of photography which is in competition with what Glenn discovered and recorded . He was never told that he must work on this or that subject and he ensured that all his creative choices came from his own volition.

Glenn felt a terrific need to keep on, to achieve, to overcome what he thought of as a frailty entirely outside of his body’s determination. Consequently, the word determination is his marker because determination is a key feature of this brave artist’s character.

In the 35 years that Glenn and I were friends I always knew that he was an artist who made plans and these plans were to record, to picture, to document life as he saw it. There is a bohemian spirit within Glenn’s art and it is a spirit that allowed him to be at places few other camera artists would work at.


Be it the back stalls of a rural racetrack.

Be it the homes of gang members.

Be it at a church on a Pacific atoll only accessible by sea.

Be it at a huge international arts festival somewhere in the Moana.


I have always been impressed by the fact that Glenn never, ever, pulled back from the ambitious nature of his photo-projects even though they frequently presented him with substantial problems.

Problems of funding, problems of diplomacy, problems of accessibility, problems of timing and schedules, problems of publication. He surmounted all these issues because he wanted his artwork to be a vehicle of advocacy for the many people that he collaborated with. Especially peoples of the Pacific.

I first met Glenn in the 1970s, very soon after Outreach (later Art Station, now Studio One Toi Tū) opened as a public access art studio in Ponsonby Road. I attended one of the early inner city exhibitions of contemporary Pacific craft to be held in any Auckland public gallery. Naturally, it was a huge community event and some of those present had never encountered a photographer who was so determined to document their opening event. They showed Glenn what we call ‘kawa’, the protocol of necessary behaviour.

Glenn was very well-known throughout the Pacific for his ability and reputation as a photographer, yet Glenn remained humble as a person. As the years went on, Glenn became more humble. And it was at the beginning of his career when he first arrived in Auckland that he was shown humility, he was tutored in humility and this was a true lesson that he never forgot. The elders spoke to Glenn and he listened and understood their message.

I interviewed Glenn at length some months before his death. We spoke about his photographic practice and he reiterated how all of his artwork came from his own volition. Glenn had the insight to know that we live in a Pacific place and that Pacific peoples are emblems marking the massive change that is happening in our society. We are becoming here each day, in every way, more Pacific as a people together.

Glenn understood that the history of the Pacific has much to teach us all. In focussing on the peoples of the Pacific, he travelled extensively throughout the Pacific. Arguably more than any other photographer of his generation. He shared his images generously, always.

Glenn cherished the astonishingly important traditions of the Pacific – be they expressed in heritage, traditional and customary ways as well as in contemporary and urban ways. The energy and the talent of Pacific peoples became one of the beacons which Glenn Jowitt’s art sought to affirm, acknowledge and celebrate. Glenn was trusted. He undertook his legwork properly and with politeness and correctness.

I have always thought that Glenn was one of New Zealand’s most assiduous camera artists; he was determined, patient and tenacious. In a career which spanned more than 35 years, he established an international reputation as a documentary photographer.

I spoke to the much loved kaumatua Don Soloman yesterday and Don kindly confirmed what I recalled. It was Don that gave Glenn Jowitt his very first exhibition at Auckland when he moved from Christchurch. Don recalled that no Auckland dealer gallery would consider showing Glenn’s photography then. This is over 35 years ago. So, Don kindly offered Glenn the recently opened Gallery space at Outreach. The opening was a wonderful party and I think it was from that very moment that Glenn became an Auckland and took this city’s multicultural reality to his heart.

There is no irony that Glenn’s Auckland reputation was born in a community gallery as Glenn was always an artist who took the aspirations of all the many communities that he had the privilege and the pleasure of working with to the core of his creativity. It is this love of people that singles Glenn Jowitt out. He shared his talent and he gave of himself freely. Glenn’s art, his photographs, is his life’s gift to us. 

Image credits:

Glenn Jowitt (1955–2014)
Ashburton 9 September 1978 1982
black and white photograph
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki
purchased 1983


Glenn Jowitt (1955-2014)
Baldie (Shane Piripi Turner) 1979
black and white photograph
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki
 purchased 1985

The diversity of My Country

Visitors to My Country: Contemporary Art from Black Australia often express surprise at the innovative nature of Australian Indigenous art, and that contemporary art by Indigenous Australians includes more than abstract painting. Urban, art school trained artists create work in every media imaginable. Artists from remote areas are recognised for taking traditional practices – sand drawing, body painting, decoration of burial poles and functional objects – and reconceiving them in new and fresh ways, while conveying the importance of the mythological and recent history of their land and politically declaring Indigenous rights.

In this blog I want to explore the ways in which the artists in My Country are groundbreaking and, in particular, how their innovation is endorsed by the awards and acknowledgements they have received.

Alick Tipoti, Kukyu Garpathamai Mabaig 2007
Alick Tipoti is from Torres Strait and his work in My Country exemplifies the acclaimed status of artists in the exhibition. Tipoti is an expert in linocut printing (a Western technique that he has helped to introduce to islanders). Tipoti has developed an extremely creative and articulate style of print making, which conveys his traditional culture to his people and to the rest of the world. He was Student of the Year during his art training (1993), and since then his works have attracted a list of accolades, including over five annual National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, culminating in the Senior Artist Award and Artist of the Year in 2012. In 2011 Tipoti also won the British Council’s Indigenous Leadership Award. His amazing work in My Country, Kuyku Garpathamai Mabaig, 2007, which depicts a head hunter with his weapons communicating with the spirit of his victims, won the Freemantle Print Award.

Genevieve Grieves is a young artist from New South Wales. She is representative of younger generations of Indigenous artists who have grown up in urban areas, gone to art school and who use contemporary media in their art making. Grieves five-channel video Picturing the Old People, 2006–7 is based on archival studio photographs of Indigenous people. Picturing the Old People won the Xstrata Coal Emerging Indigenous Art Award 2007. Making these videos at the age of 30, Grieves worked collaboratively to include relatives of the people depicted in the original images in her animation and disruption of the historical photos.

Warwick Thornton, Stranded 2011
Distance within the huge Australian continent, or from the rest of the world, is no deterrent to talent. Internationally acclaimed Indigenous Film maker Warwick Thornton was brought up in Alice Springs, and as a teenager lived in Australia’s only monastic town (New Norcia, WA). His 2009 film Samson and Delilah won Caméra d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009, when Thornton was in his late thirties. While continuing his directing career, Thornton was commissioned by Telstra to make a work the for 2011 Adelaide Film Festival. He created the hard-hitting yet beautiful 3D film Stranded, 2011, which is presented in My Country and is his only work made for a gallery space.

Youth, however is not a perquisite for Indigenous Australian achievement in contemporary art, as works by numerous artists in My Country demonstrate. The painting Euro tracks, 2011 by Dickie Minyintiri won the 28th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award in 2011, out of over 300 entries. This subtle painting of multiple layers and colours represents Minyintiri’s personal memory of travel in his country and expresses his ancestral relationship to the land in the stories of a sacred men’s ceremonial site. Amongst the network of lines are traces of the tracks of ancestral spirits (kangaroos, dogs, emu) to important waterholes.

This decorated artist reinforces the ageless nature of success. At almost 100 years old (born 1915) Minyintiri is the oldest artist in Ernabella, SA, and his paintings are found in all the Australian state galleries. The formal painting career of this senior man, responsible for many traditional laws, only began in 2005 when Dickie was almost 90.

Eighty-eight-year-old Sally Gabori won the inaugural $50,000 Gold Award presented by Rockhampton Art Gallery in 2012 with a painting similar to but smaller than her work Dibirdibi Country, 2008, in My Country. More remarkable is that Gabori commenced painting only five years earlier. She rapidly followed this success by winning the Togart Contemporary Art Award 2012 and seeing her work enter many public gallery art collections including, the Musée de Quay Branley in Paris. Gabori paints the shoreline where she grew up on Bentnick Island, northern Queensland, a home from which missionaries removed her and her family in 1948.

My Country includes art by the key figures who established a creative and economic pathway for others, especially women.

One such entrepreneurial artist is Emily Kngwarreye, whose work Wild Potato Dreaming, 1990 appears in My Country. Born in 1910, Kngwarreye ignored the impediments of distance and social and economic disadvantage to succeed in taking up painting as a career, commencing her art practice just prior to reaching the age of 80. Kngwarreye was living in the community of Utopia, 350 kilometres north-east of Alice Springs. The medium of acrylic on canvas was only introduced to Utopia in 1988. Kngwarreye’s paintings of her yam dreaming, which she said include ‘everything’ (meaning her ancestral links, the aspects of culture she has custodianship over and the country where she lives) have set new records for the price and national and international recognition of Aboriginal art in general.

Australian Indigenous people had not adopted the European materials of paint and canvas until 1971 when school teacher Geoffrey Bardon introduced these art tools to men in the Papunya community, located 250 kilometres west of Alice Springs. When Kngwarreye began painting in 1989 she forged her own style which was distinct from that of the men painting in Papunya. By 1990, she had five solo exhibitions and 12 group exhibitions in Australia – a trailblazing feat by a woman who had not left the central desert area of the continent before beginning her art career. Prime Minister Paul Keating acknowledged Kngwarreye’s achievements when he presented her with the Australian Artists Creative Fellowship in 1992, making her the first Indigenous artist to receive this prestigious award.

In remote parts of Australia painting is a way in which Indigenous people stay connected to culture, and provides an occasion for singing ancestral and past stories, and a time to pass down knowledge and carry on custodial duties in regard to land. Australia was, as you will know, presumed to be terra nullius or land belonging to no one by the colonial settlers who arrived in the 18th century. The paintings of Kngwarreye, like other artists, have broken new ground in demonstrating evidence of a prior connection to country, and have been accepted as evidence in Land Trials. In this way, painting has assisted communities, including Utopia, to gain freehold title to their territory.

My Country is indicative of the fact that there is no single characteristic of professional and economic achievement. The photos Black Gum, 2008, which reflect on colonial perceptions of Indigenous Australians, are by Christian Thompson, the first Aboriginal Australian to be admitted to Oxford University in its 900-year history.

Vernon Ah Kee speaking in front of his work, neither pride nor courage 2006,  at Auckland Art Gallery, Saturday 29 March 2014
Vernon Ah Kee recently won the 2014 Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize for the style of charcoal drawing on canvas that is seen in his large triptych neither pride nor courage, 2006 in My Country. The third part of this triptych shows the face of the future – it is a portrait of Ah Kee’s son. This boy exemplifies changes since the artist’s own start in life – Ah Kee was born in 1967, just before a referendum in which Aboriginal Australians were granted the right to vote, and the first time they became full citizens in their own land.

The artists in My Country indicate the many ways in which art can be a means to not only survive but also flourish. Through their art these artists acknowledge the importance of past and current communities in contemporary life, and engage others with culture in new and inventive ways. I leave you with an image of the installation I Forgive You, 2012 by Bindi Cole, an artist who had won the Victorian Indigenous Art Awards in 2007 and 2009 when she was in her early thirties. Made from thousands of emu feathers, I Forgive You is literally – and figuratively – multi-layered. One meaning that we can take from this work, and from other art in My Country, is that the success and integrity of any person is interconnected with those who form our worlds and countries.

– Zara Stanhope, Principal Curator and Head of Public Programmes

Additional notes:

Richard Bell
A painting very similar to Richard Bell’s Theorum (Tricky Dicky and Friends) on view in My Country won Bell the National Telstra Indigenous Art Award (2003). 


Michael Cook
Artist of the Civilised series, photographer Michael Cook, is a two-time winner of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards in recent years.


Image credits:


Alick Tipoti
Kala Lagaw Ya people
Australia  QLD  b.1975
Kuyku Garpathamai Mabaig  2007
Purchased 2008. The Queensland Art Gallery Foundation Grant

Warwick Thornton
Kaytej people
Australia  NT  b.1970
Stranded 2011
Purchased 2011. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation

Vernon Ah Kee
Kuku Yalanji/Waanyi/Yidinyji/Guugu Yimithirr people
Australia  QLD  b.1967
neither pride nor courage  2006
The James C Sourris, AM, Collection. 
Gift of James C Sourris through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation 2007. Donated through the 
Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Youth Media Internship 2014: From Premiere to Premiere

Programme mentor Jacques offering technical help
Some quick, last minute changes in Adobe Premiere aaaaaannnnnndddddd… DONE! All the interns had finished their short films, ready for rendering and exporting. Jacques, the tech whiz mentor, made sure that all the films were ready for playback later in the day for the premiere screening of the films.

Reflection
We reflected on what the past two weeks have meant to us and how we have each benefitted from it. What went well? What didn’t go so well? As mentors, we did well in our documentation of the programme and offering help where possible. The interns all did well in encouraging one another and always being open to learn new skills and processes.

One big family
With the pressure of the films off our shoulders, the remainder of the day was left for us to hang out and have some fun without the segregation of teams. We’re all just one big family now. After a quick photoshoot on the sculpture terrace, we were free to play in the creative learning centre, read stories, draw… basically just chill. It was nice to be in a completely stress free environment after the intensity of the past two weeks.

Group photo of Interns and Mentors
While the movies were being prepared for their premiere showing, we spent some time creating short drama skits that showed a memorable part of the programme. This was very enjoyable and allowed everyone to get active and creative. The skits were performed in the theatre where the final films were to be shown. But first, let us take a selfie!

Interns taking photos
Most of the interns weren’t comfortable with being in front of the camera at the beginning of this programme. There was no shyness now as all the interns seemed very comfortable with having literally hundreds of photos taken of them. Perhaps this was because of all the photos we’ve taken of them throughout the week, or maybe just the atmosphere of excitement in the auditorium. Either way, the Interns were happy to muck around in front of the lens.

A team introduces their short film
The audience started entering. Members of the gallery staff, including the stars of some of the films, were invited to this exclusive premiere of the Interns’ short films and our short film based on the interns’ time here. It was such a great experience seeing these finally come to the big screen. We are incredibly proud of what each team produced.

An Intern receiving their gift
Each intern has clearly grown in their creativity. They have become more aware of the talent that they possess and have started to open their minds to the endless possibilities in art. We are honoured to have been a part of this programme and are looking forward to the future of these amazing and talented interns.

A huge thanks must go to the Auckland Art Gallery and Colab AUT for facilitating this event. In particular, Mindy Catt and Selina Anderson from Auckland Art Gallery and Clinton Watkins from Colab. We are also grateful for the expertise and insight of Jacques Foottit and Sarah Loggie. And, of course, thank you to every intern who made this adventure awesome.

All the best, Martin Hill and Reuben Poharama

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

For and Against: Debating Ideas and Concepts around art!

A case study around developing a new cross-curricular secondary school programme piloted with Year 12 History students from Pukekohe High School.


The moment of truth! The students were now asked to use the content they had been given to debate the moot ‘The influence of the Renaissance is obvious in art from today’... The debate was a roaring success – both groups were lively and engaged, and were keen to discuss their interpretations and ideas... I'd facilitated many debates in the Gallery prior to this one, but immediately this stood out as more successful.

The analysis and discussion of works of art can offer rich learning opportunities appropriate for a broad range of subject areas. Motivated by this thinking, we wanted to develop a programme that gave secondary students from a range of subject areas the opportunity to build relevant content and contextual knowledge around works of art, to explore the big ideas these generate, and to then apply this knowledge through a facilitated group debate designed to encourage high level critical thinking.

We developed a focused tour and debate programme (For and Against: Debating Ideas and Concepts around Art), combining the strengths of two of the Gallery’s teams. The first part of the session is led by one of our Gallery Volunteers, who work with the public to deliver daily tours and have an comprehensive understanding of the Gallery and its collection. The second part of the session is led by one of our Gallery Educators, who work with schools and community groups and specialize in facilitating sessions where students use critical and creative thinking to analyze artworks.

We trialed this new programme with a class of Year 12 History students from Pukekohe High School. They had been studying the Renaissance, and were preparing for an internal standard for which they needed to write an essay on the art of the Renaissance and its effect on art in the present.

We introduced their debate topic: ‘The influence of the Renaissance is obvious in art from today’. When they discovered they wouldn't know which side of the debate they would argue from until the second part of the session there were groans and slight looks of panic on several faces, so we assured them the debate would not be a test, but rather a fun and lively way to apply their knowledge, share their thoughts and hear the thoughts of others!

Part 1: Volunteer Guide-led tour 

Juan de Juanes, Saint Catherine of Alexandria, 16th century
We started in Little Miracles, an exhibition of 16th century Renaissance paintings and then spent time discussing several works in-depth. Students also had opportunities to share their own knowledge and interpretations, and she encouraged them to link what they were hearing now back to what they had learnt in the classroom.

Tony Fomison, My Personal Christ (St Anthony) 1976
We then viewed examples of ‘art from today’. The challenge was to identify or relate the characteristics of the Renaissance works we had discussed to these contemporary New Zealand works. The students were supported through this process through discussion and were encouraged to look at the notes they had taken in Little Miracles to compare and contrast the works.

Part 2: Educator-facilitated debate 

The moment of truth! The students were now asked to use the content they had been given to debate the moot ‘The influence of the Renaissance is obvious in art from today’. Their teacher, Liz, and I stepped back at this point, and gave the students space to voice their opinions, use the notes they had taken in Liz’s session, and to use their prior knowledge. Where needed, we would step in to further fuel a discussion or push them further with their thinking.

Colin McCahon, Takaka: Night and Day 1948
The debate was a roaring success – both groups were lively and engaged, and were keen to discuss their interpretations and ideas. An atmosphere of playful competition kept them on their toes, as both sides wanted to 'win'. I'd facilitated many debates in the Gallery prior to this one, but immediately this stood out as more successful. Giving the students access to content and then allowing them the time to digest it and manipulate it made a huge difference. Challenges we’ve since thought through – sticking to our timing – they could have kept debating much longer, and trying to keep all of the students engaged during the debate, not just the ones who are really comfortable talking in public. The arguments from both sides were well measured, supported with evidence and convincing. For example, the 'for' group argued that the influence of the Renaissance was clearly visible in McCahon's Takaka: Night and Day. They thought his dramatic use of light and dark tones referenced the chiaroscuro technique used by Renaissance artists.

Successes: 

  • Students said they found arguing a given point of view challenging, but useful. This is a skill they need for essay writing in several subjects, not just History. They also liked hearing different perspectives from their peers during the debate, and having the opportunity to learn from each other in that way. 
  • The flexibility of this programme allows the Gallery to respond to a teacher's needs, or to a specific topic of study. Liz was able to introduce lots of content, which secondary students need. Their teacher was engaged and encouraging throughout the entire session. Her enthusiasm helped students maintain interest. 
  • Liz’s past experience with secondary groups had seen her solely as a ‘guide’, her role purely to share content. She has found in this environment students are often reluctant to ask questions or participate in discussion. Alternatively she found the For and Against programme created an atmosphere that allowed students space to show curiosity or share their knowledge, making it a more rewarding experience for them and for her. 

Going forward:

  • Taking into account the challenges in the pilot, we are now offering this programme on a regular basis along with the rest of our Secondary Learning programming
  • I love working with this age group, and really enjoyed the opportunity to hear them voice their opinions and share their knowledge in such an enthusiastic way. 
  • Bring your students in and let us know what you think! 
– Gallery Educator Vivien Masters and Volunteer Guide Elizabeth Buchanan

Image credits: 

Juan de Juanes
Saint Catherine of Alexandria 16th century
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Sir George Grey, 1887


Tony Fomison
My personal Christ 1975-1976
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1976


Colin McCahon
Takaka: night and day 1948
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Rutland Group, 1958

Youth Media Internship 2014: The End in Sight

Interns critiquing their peers' work
Today we started with a quick critique session. We all had the opportunity to look at what each of the groups had done so far and offer some feedback about each of the short films. At this stage feedback plays a key role in motivating the Interns to fine tune and push their films to a higher level.

Getting the job done
Editing was the main focus of today. There was an atmosphere of concentration and determination in the studio. Talking to the Interns revealed that there were still a lot of ideas that they would like to develop. Everyone was optimistic and knew that they would get it all done and calmly carried on working.

Reflective drawing of an intern
This year’s Interns love to express themselves through their own art. Many of the interns doodle or draw as part of their reflection. As not everyone in the group can work on editing at the same time, a few chose to reflect through their drawings. The interns have a lot of skills in many different fields and their artistic ability has really shone through over the last two weeks.

Pizza for lunch
One of the highlights of this programme that everyone agrees on is the food we get everyday. The programme has been fully catered for with a combination of snacks, sandwiches and everyone's favourite: pizza. Lunchtime today was a much needed break from all the work everyone had been doing. Some were so focused on their work that they needed to be peeled away from their computers to take a break.

Programme mentor Jacques lending a hand
Jacques, one of the programme mentors, helped a lot today. He knows a great deal about the technical side of things. The Interns called on him when they were faced with something that they didn't know how to do. His expertise in this area helped in the process of learning that the interns have gone through.

– Photos and text by Reuben Poharama and Martin Hill, AUT Media Mentors