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Artist keeps her promise

Thursday September 06, 2018 Written by Published in Education
Barbara Bull with Tereora College student Tamatoa Tuariki. 18090518 Barbara Bull with Tereora College student Tamatoa Tuariki. 18090518

Five years on from her last trip to the Cook Islands, Barbara Bull has kept a promise.

German artist Bull first came to the Cook Islands back in 2013 and spent time both on Rarotonga and in the Pa Enua, working with local school students to create artwork depicting their past, present and future.

The pieces created went on display at the Museum of Ethnology in Hamburg, Germany, and Bull said it was so successful, it was extended twice.

“It was initially only to be on display for four months, but I believe it was extended twice and ended up on exhibition, I think, for 11 months in total.

“The response from people in Germany was fantastic, as so many of them knew nothing about the Cook Islands or where they are. So this was a way to try and bridge the cultures together.

“I told the students when I left in 2014 that I would bring their art work back to them and this is why I am back here once again.”

On Wednesday, Bull was hosted by Tereora College to return artworks to some of the students who had been at primary school at the time they created their pieces.

“I hope that once they get their artwork back, that they will appreciate how special it is. Even though it was done a few years ago, it is still a representation of them and maybe in the future they can tell and show their kids how their artwork went around the world and back again.”

“Some of the pieces that the students created when they were younger were very thoughtful and I know a lot of people that came and saw the exhibition thought so too.”

Bull used the pieces and stories that the students wrote to accompany their art, to create a book showcasing Cook Islands culture.

The cover image was a piece created by Matatia Taikakara who has since finished school, but was on hand on Tuesday to receive his artwork back, as well as a copy of the book provided by a German donor.

Bull said she still feels a connection with the people of the Cook Islands and is pleased she was able to keep her promise to the students.