With support from Creative New Zealand, Vunilagi Vou presented a salon of South Auckland at the 2023 Aotearoa Art Fair (2-5 March) at The Cloud on Auckland’s waterfront.
It was a privilege to present new, recent and archival work by Nigel Borell, Dr Sione Faletau, Leilani Kake, Niu Lemalu, Genevieve Pini and Leilani Kake, alongside an historic portrait by Johanna Van Massop.
From opening night through to pack-down, we had a steady stream of visitors – many visiting the Aotearoa Art Fair for the first time, lots of artists, arts workers and appreciators from the Moana Pacific arts sectors and social networks, and a lot of new faces – folks encountering Vunilagi Vou for the first time.
It was great to be present in this space as a first-time booth-holder, and fascinating to see the working cogs of the Aotearoa art market through the lens of the Fair.
Gratitude to Mereia Carling, who spent a day transiting through Auckland, working the Vunilagi Vou booth! And to dear friend, exhibiting artist and non-stop Vunilagi Vou supporter, Nigel Borell, for working, talking, networking and Instagramming the booth for the duration of the event!
Last year we set the wheels in motion to present solo exhibitions by two South Auckland-based artists, Niu Lemalu and Genevieve Pini, here at Vunilagi Vou in 2023. Through the BoostedxMoana initiative (a partnership between Boosted [The Arts Foundation] and Creative New Zealand), we crowdfunded $10k to support the artists and the presentation of their new work.
Presenting work at the Aotearoa Art Fair was part of the process of preparing for their solos; we got to expand awareness for their practices, and gauge the ways audiences responded to their ideas. One of the best outcomes of the whole project was that both Niu and Genevieve sold their work at the Fair – an excellent endorsement and motivation in preparation for their solos.
It was also really wonderful to host members of both Niu and Genevieve’s families at the Fair. I’ve always enjoyed the ways family members talanoa about the artists in their lives. It’s gratifying to present the work of these artists within a wider context of the art market to illustrate a value system that they sit within.
The Art Fair was a great focus for the first quarter of the year and at the end of April, we launch a season of solos at Vunilagi Vou that will take us through to October!
Vunilagi Vou’s stockroom is currently being re-hung to accommodate for some of the unsold works from the Art Fair, including some of Nigel Borell’s gorgeous works on paper, one of which was the Atomic Coffee Roasters annual commission.
Whilst the exhibitions programme doesn’t kick off until the end of April, the VV Stockroom is open Thursday – Saturday, 10am – 2pm, or via appointment.