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Tongan women's art reveals textile treasures
11
Feb '09
As part of the 2009 Celebrate Pasifika festival Fresh Gallery Otara presents an exhibition of the Tongan women's textile art form 'koloa'. Charmaine 'Ilaiu and Nina Tonga have curated an exhibition that explores and celebrates the work of Tongan women in the community. They've discovered that for many Tongan women, koloa is not seen as art; rather it is a way of life.

Working closely with members of the Tongan women's collective Mo'ui aonga Tongan Cultural Centre based in Otahuhu, co-curator Charmaine 'Ilaiu says it's been a very collaborative approach with everyone contributing their ideas.

Charmaine believes the final result is an inspiring installation piece, something that hasn't been exhibited before.

What: Koloa et al: Your Art is my Treasure
When: 20 February-14 March
Opening: Thursday 19 February, 6pm
Gallery hours: Tuesday to Friday, 10am-5pm; Saturday, 8am-2pm
Where: Fresh Gallery Otara, Shop 5, 46 Fairmall, Otara Town Centre, Manukau
Entry: FREE

What: The Margin's Cutting Edge
When: 27 February-22 March
Gallery hours: Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm; Saturday and Sunday, 1-4pm
Where: The Gallery, Nathan Homestead, 70 Hill Road, Manurewa
Entry: FREE

"At first the women were quite hesitant and unsure of what a gallery space would do for their koloa. But now they've embraced the project and are really keen to show their work to the wider community."

Koloa (cultural wealth) is a term that can include a range of textile forms and creative processes: ngatu, or bark cloth; fala, or woven mats and monomono, or quilt-making. The use of new materials and techniques proves that Tongan koloa is not a dying custom, but continues to thrive as older women pass on their skills to the younger generation.

Koloa et al: Your Art is my Treasure will transform the gallery space in the customary manner of Tongan teuteu, or preparatory adornment. A curators' floor talk and koloa demonstration will be held on Saturday, 7 March at 12 noon.

Another Celebrate Pasifika festival event is The Margin's Cutting Edge by young Samoan artist Theodore Ah Wong on show at The Gallery, Nathan Homestead in Manurewa until 22 March.

In this solo exhibition Theodore uses techniques of cutting away paint and canvas to create his paintings along with striking furniture and design pieces.

Manukau City Council

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