John Vea: One Kiosk Many Exchanges
In collaboration with Kaitiaki Taonga Taini Drummond and artists Valasi Leota-Seiuli, Sione Mafi, Newman Tumata and Jimmy Wulf.
As part of the Te Tuhi exhibition Share/Cheat/Unite curated by Bruce E. Phillips.
Emilia Maud Nixon Garden of Memories, 37 Uxbridge Road, Howick, Auckland
One Kiosk Many Exchanges is a collaborative performance art event instigated by artist John Vea that responds to the entwined histories of the Emilia Maud Nixon Garden of Memories in Howick, Auckland. The garden was established by Nixon in 1962 to recognise the tangata whenua Ngāi Tai and the legacy of European pioneer women. Situated in the heart of Howick Village, the garden has additional significance as being a site of Māori habitation for at least 300 years and also a colonial significance for being strategic land that the British military secured through the occupation of fencible soldiers. In more recent years, the garden has been the site of change due to a fire that damaged Te Whare o Torere and then later through the construction of a new building Te Whare Matariki.
One Kiosk Many Exchanges seeks to create an exchange with this history through a series of performative actions within the garden using a pop-up marquee. The title for the work borrows the Turkish term ‘kiosk’, a word originally used to describe an open pavilion-like building to gather under but was later used by Europeans to describe a space to serve or sell goods from. Vea brings this mixed understanding of the kiosk in relation to the complex legacy of the gardens as being a place of colonisation and community, of collapse and rebuilding and of trauma and healing.
Recognising that they are manuhiri to the garden and New Zealander’s from many different cultural backgrounds, Vea and his collaborating artists will also explore what it means to be visitors responding to a site of rich local significance. They will attempt to do so by engaging with shared notions of unity, temporality, permanence and precariousness that have further significance within the wider context of Auckland’s burgeoning population and growing housing shortage.