PASIFIKA DIVAS PERFORMANCE
Shigeyuki Kihara is both a visual artist and a fashion stylist, based in Aotearoa New Zealand. Of Samoan and Japanese heritage, she is a graduate of Massey University and holds an Advanced Diploma in Fashion Design and Technology. Her installation Teuanoa'i Adorn to Excess created media uproar when it was shown in the exhibition 'More or Less' at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in 2001. Kihara is from a fashion industry background and her styling work can be found in various magazines. Kihara has recently written on Post-Colonialism in Pacific fashion for the upcoming publication Pacific Heritage in New Zealand. Apart from her art and fashion careers, she also supports a variety of Pacific Island community projects in Aotearoa New Zealand and abroad.
Siaosi Mulipola (aka ‘Sha-ne'ne’)
Siaosi Mulipola (aka ‘Sha-ne'ne’) is a Samoan from Aotearoa New Zealand who has been working in the performing arts for over ten years. Training and performing with the Southern Ballet, Mulipola moved to Auckland to study at the Performing Arts School and now holds a Diploma in Contemporary Dance. Mulipola’s acting debut came with a series of short films for Television New Zealand. He now works with Pacific Island teachers and with the Ministry of Education to introduce dance and drama into primary and secondary schools.
Phylesha Brown-Acton is of Niuean, Rarotongan, Samoan and European descent and is a traditional and contemporary designer and stylist. She is also a professional Polynesian cultural entertainer. Brown-Acton is descended from a line of master weavers and has used and extended on this knowledge to produce some of the finest costumes in the prestigious Miss South Pacific beauty pageants from 1995 to 2000. She has won major awards in several categories at these events. Brown-Acton is regularly invited to perform at international events and has received enthusiastic reviews. She has a background in props management and has worked for the television seriesTagata Pasifika. Brown-Acton travels extensively and spends most of her time in the South Pacific creating costumes and performing.
Edward Cowley (aka Buckwheat)
Buckwheat was born ten years ago as the host of Edward Cowley’s Auckland nightclub. Since then, Buckwheat has co-hosted a games show and a cooking series on New Zealand television, been interviewed by Ruby Wax, and performed extensively in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. When not performing, Cowley works at the New Zealand AIDS Foundation Te Tuuaapapa Mate Aaraikore O Aotearoa setting up programs throughout the Pacific and Asia. He is also a consultant for diverse agencies that aim to motivate Pacific people towards tertiary education. Cowley is of Samoan heritage and holds a Bachelor of Communications.
Lindah LePou (aka Lindah E)
Lindah LePou is of Samoan and European descent. She was born in Aotearoa New Zealand but was raised in Samoa from the age of seven. LePou organises diverse fashion events, festivals and concerts for Oplom Productions and represents various singers and songwriters. A singer herself, LePou has worked with many artists and has been described as ‘a Pacific R’n’B and gospel diva without comparison’. Her latest venture is the fashion label Dencium Compri, which will be launched this year and will specialise in Polynesian couture. LePou has also graced the catwalks of many countries, including the United States for Vivien Westwood.
THE BODY ADORNERS
Sofia Tekela-Smith was born in Aotearoa New Zealand to a Scots father and a mother of Rotuman, Futunan and Uvean descent. Raised by her grandmother in Rotuma, Tekela-Smith produces intricately constructed, bold body-adornment pieces that acknowledge and represent her connection with her grandmother. Her focus is on creating work that reflects and communicates a visual language of harmony, beauty, strength and spirit. Her work mixes industrial and natural materials to create perfectly constructed, lyrical and impressive pieces. Tekela-Smith's work has been included in exhibitions in Aotearoa New Zealand, New Caledonia and Australia, including 'Adorned' at the Macleay Museum, Sydney, 1999; 'Turangawaewae: A Public Outing: 3rd New Zealand Jewellery Biennial', Auckland, 2000; 'Pacific Bound' at the ‘8th Pacific Festival of Arts’, Noumea, 2000; and 'Perfumed Fragrances' at Mori Gallery, Sydney, 2002.
Niki Hastings-McFall was born in Aotearoa New Zealand and as an adult learned that her father was Samoan. This prompted her to produce body-adornment work to explore her new-found identity and culture, and how they related to her personally. She has exhibited extensively in the seven years since she began producing work, participating in over a hundred shows since 1994. Her work has been exhibited in Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii, Samoa, New Caledonia and the United States, and is held in public and private collections worldwide. Her exhibitions include 'Bottled Ocean' at Wellington City Art Gallery, 1994; 'Tautai Sculpture Symposium', Auckland, 1996, 1997 and 1998; 'Past Pacific' at Fingers Gallery, Auckland, 1997; and '4th Biennale d'Art Contemporain de Noumea', Noumea, 2000.
Alicia Courtney and Lara Kastelan
Alicia Courtney and Lara Kastelan are two emerging artists from Aotearoa New Zealand working in the areas of body adornment and design.
Lisa Taouma is a Samoan director and reporter for Aotearoa New Zealand’s only television program devoted to Pacific culture,Tagata Pasifika.Taouma has an academic arts background and holds a Master of Arts from Auckland University, where she is a guest lecturer in Pacific arts. She has written two short films, which featured at the 1996 Montreal Film Festival. Taouma directed the award-winning series Polyfest 2000, as well as a documentary on the Otara Markets for Documentary New Zealand. Taouma has written extensively for art publications and has curated local and international exhibitions. In 2002 she was a keynote speaker at Conversations Across Cultures: Spring 2002: Pacifika Ways of Knowing: Youth of the South Pacific Diaspora Crossing Cultural, Generational and Global Boundaries, a symposium on Pacific arts and multimedia held at Columbia University, New York.
Artists and Works
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