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Indigenous art exhibition attracts young, emerging and established artists

Friday 21 October 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Culture, Local

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Indigenous art exhibition attracts young, emerging  and established artists
Artists Paulina Kaimarama and Shane Andrew feature their art pieces at the Toki Cook Islands indigenous artists gathering at the Gallery Tavioni 2021 21072201.

Drawing strength from its first exhibition in 2021, this year’s Toki Indigenous artist exhibition ‘Kopu Tangata’ features local and international artists with a platform to project their own stories through art.

The range of artists featured in tonight’s exhibition at the Gallery Tavioni in Atupa will include those who are young, emerging and established.

Toki’s purpose for exhibiting indigenous artists is to help the creative sector, support local artists and inspire each to develop their creative talents, says event organiser and Cook Islands artist Shane Andrew.

“It also offers opportunities to gain exposure and experience, exhibiting their work,” said Andrew.

“The support from our community has been inspiring and empowering to help develop our creative works.”

Sharing a common goal, the exhibition and artist gatherings have been supported by Gallery Tavioni for the past two years. It is about promoting various creative initiatives with local and international artists, collaborations, language classes and traditional practices.

The open studio space offers a platform for artists to share techniques and knowledge about their creative journeys.

“Gallery Tavioni has offered a great base to hold events, provide a colourful environment for everyone to be inspired by,” said Andrew.

 “Mike and the Tavioni Family have been great advocates over the years and drivers for our artists, and providing guidance to what our responsibilities are as Cook Islanders and artists.”

Some of the artwork was developed during the second edition of “The Toki Artists” gathering in late August.

The attending artists had the opportunity to work on their visual art forms and collaborate with each other.

Cook Islands renowned artist Mike Tavioni said: “I’m happy that we are working together in preserving many practices, from canoe making, weaving, and an exhibition in the middle, adds value to our cause as artists, carvers, weavers and voyagers.”

Emerging artist Chelsie Napa is “ecstatic to be part of a collective group of artists and I believe this is a great opportunity to project a message that can empower our own people”.

Gallery Tavioni is also working on the canoe making project – Te Mana O Te Vaka - kia ora uata rai te peu tupuna – in partnership with the Cook Islands Voyaging Society.

Everyone is welcome to attend the exhibition which opens from 6pm and will run until Saturday, September 29.