Q&A with Sam Dollimore, recipient of the Friends of Pātaka 2016 artist residency.

Sam Dollimore Pataka Friends Residency morning tea_7

PĀTAKA: Kia ora Sam, congratulations on your Pātaka Friends Art Award and residency, great to have you here. What impact do you think awards and residencies have on an artist’s practice?
SAM: For me, I think the biggest thing I’ve come away with is a bunch of exciting new relationships. It’s really wonderful to to have met so many new amazing people in my local art community. I actually feel more like I really am part of this community now, and the idea of working and showing my work is no longer so intimidating. I feel like, in my head at least, those doors (that I suppose were actually open all along) aren’t so scary to walk through now. And obviously a lovely boost in confidence, validation that the work I’m doing has something that others can respond to.

PĀTAKA: What’s your connection to Porirua?
SAM: I moved here around eight years ago, when I moved in with my partner. He already lived out here. We live in Titahi Bay with his two beautiful sons (half the time) and three silly chickens (all the time). I love it here.

PĀTAKA: What can you tell us a bit about the subject matter in the drawings you are currently working on? What made you choose this line of inquiry for your work?
SAM: I love bodies! I especially love the bits of bodies that aren’t so popular in our culture right now – the fleshy, dimply, soft, fat, wrinkly interesting bits. I’ve had to work quite hard to love my own body, and I think part of me quite enjoys the idea that the bodyparts I’ve been the most ashamed of are now big crazy artworks.  

PĀTAKA: The drawings you’ve been working on look very labour intensive. Do you have a system or process that keeps you focussed and able to complete a work without causing yourself any permanent injury.
SAM: They are labour intensive… I do love a good challenge, and working for so long on one thing, especially because I’m never 100% sure how it’s going to turn out, is a great exercise in self-discipline and mindfulness for me. Which I must admit to struggling with at times. Maybe I have a funny little attachment to the archetypal tortured artist or something; I always seem to find myself undertaking work that relies heavily on those things that I most struggle with, like patience and mindfulness.  Which isn’t always fun, but it’s satisfying afterward. I listen to audiobooks and/or music when I draw for the most part, but sometimes I really need to focus so I just work in silence. As far as my body goes, I’m slowly learning how to manage the drawing work so that I don’t repeat past injuries; I caused myself quite a lot of neck and back pain the last two years which took me months to recover from so I’ve hopefully learned my lession about when and how often to stop and when it’s time to go work on something else for a day or two.  And I’ve taken up extreme yoga and learnt how to stretch properly and regularly.  

PĀTAKA: Why pen and paper? OfficeMax must love you?
SAM: Yeah good question!  I definitely have a love of craftsmanship, and also of art forms that have history and convention behind them. Is it too weird to say I’ve also always been a little obsessed with stationery? I think also I’ve been influenced by graphic novel art, the drama and intensity in comic book drawings is something that I think probably had a big part in this particular style of drawing and it seems to relate best on paper. Don’t tell OfficeMax, but I buy the pens off ebay because they’re more affordable and at this point in my career that’s something of an issue.

PĀTAKA: You’re currently working on your Masters and about to have your first solo exhibition at Toi Poneke in April, what challenges has this brought about?
SAM: Hmm – maybe ask me that again in April! I suppose regarding the show, I’m finding myself wondering a lot about what sort of thing, and how much, people might want to know about the work, and about me, and what might just be oversharing or off-putting to the public. Like how much is too much honesty. Doing Masters is a real challenge too, I’m having to constantly question my reasons behind what I’m doing, and then the reasons behind those reasons, and so on. An awful lot of navel gazing. Luckily I love my navel.

PĀTAKA: Your art practice encompasses other disciplines aside from drawing, can you tell us what these are and whether the subject differs from your drawings?
SAM: I also make short stop-motion videos – another art form that involves ridiculous amounts of patience and attention and drives me up the wall, but there’s just something about stop motion animation, I absolutely love it when I’m able to do it well. Lately I’ve been making looping gifs of hot monster ladies with too many feelings.  

PĀTAKA: Lastly, one of those weekend supplement questions: If you could have any three people around for dinner and a natter, who would you choose and why?
SAM: Oh wow that’s a hard question. Um, David Bowie, Lemmy Kilmister and Alan Rickman. Because I was influenced by all of them and they all just died so they’ve been on my mind and I’d be really interested to hear them compare stories of life and death.

PĀTAKA: Ka pai Sam and good luck with your future art endeavours!
SAM: Thank you Pātaka, I’ll gratefully accept your offer of good luck.
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Colleen Urlich

Nā Reuben Friend

Kua hinga anō he tōtara o te ao Māori. Aue te mamae e. He tohu whakamaumahara tēnei ma kōrua ngā tino rangatira o te ao Māori ko Colleen Waata Urlich kōrua ko Manos Nathan.

In te reo Māori we often refer to a person of great achievement as a lofty tree. In reaching great heights, their branches provide shelter for young saplings growing in their shadow. So it is with great sadness that we have lost two of our giant tōtara over the past fortnight. Today we pay tribute to two of the five fingers of the Kaihanga Uku, the National Māori ceramics collective, Colleen Waata Urlich and Manos Nathan.

Colleen’s passing exactly one week after the loss of Manos’ has come as a shock to many of us who have looked up to Colleen as the matriarch of Māori ceramics. The first time I meet Colleen and Manos was here at Pātaka art gallery during a ‘muddy’ wananga way back in 2002. So it seems surreal to once again be here at Pātaka, looking at their works in our gallery and seeing them in a different light. Pātaka Art + Museum toured the major Uku Rere survey exhibition around Aotearoa New Zealand over the past two years. The works have just returned back to the gallery and will be returning back up north in the coming weeks. I have always viewed your works as taonga, but now that you are both gone, it feels that part of you remains in your mahi – your skill, care, patience and style is imbued in your work. E kare ma, your legacy will live on through the taonga you left behind and the people that you inspired during your time upon te mata o te whenua.

Nō reira, kōrua, me haere tahi ai kōrua ki tērā whakaaturanga-nui kei runga i ngā rangitūhāhā. Kei reira e whakakatakata tahi ai. Ma te atua e manaaki, e tiaki. Haere, haere, haere atu ra.

 

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manos-nathan

Pataka was enveloped in a softly defused grey light this morning. The surrounding air felt heavy with moisture and the Porirua basin seemed eerily quiet as translucent veils of silent rain fell upon the lagoon.

Before the museum opened today we received the sad news that Manos Nathan, a leading Maori ceramic artist, one of the founding pillars of the Nga Kaihanga Uku collective and a generous teacher and mentor to many, had passed away.

The melancholy atmosphere outside perfectly reflected the inner feelings of the Pataka whanau as we remembered our personal experiences of Manos and pay tribute to his achievements as an extraordinary artist and cultural leader.

Compared with many of my colleagues, I only knew Manos for a short time. We met shortly after I joined the Pataka team in late 2012 when I was grappling with my first curatorial project; a 27 year survey exhibition of pivotal works by the Nga Kaihanga Uku ceramic collective. At that stage I knew very little about the contemporary Maori ceramic movement and hadn’t even heard of Nga Kaihanga Uku so felt totally out of my depth and unsure of where to start. It was my good fortune that the first artist of the collective I met and began to talk with was Manos Nathan.

Manos was extremely generous with his vast knowledge of contemporary Maori art and the origins and ethos of Nga Kaihanga Uku from the outset. With his patient guidance, I began a richly rewarding curatorial journey into contemporary Maori ceramic art that resulted in the Uku Rere exhibition. Uku Rere opened at Pataka in July 2013 and has recently returned to us after two years of touring institutional venues throughout New Zealand.

It doesn’t seem entirely coincidental that yesterday afternoon I was in our temporary art store securing some recently collected works at the time Manos passed away. It was just after 4pm as I turned to leave the room that I came face to face with the otherworldly seated female terracotta figure from his Whakapakoko series. I had always found her rather intimidating but yesterday afternoon she seems especially so as she forcibly held by gaze.

The many wonderful works Manos has left behind will ensure his extraordinary legacy continues to enrich the cultural life of our nation for generations to come. For those who were fortunate enough to know Manos personally we grieve with you and send our deepest sympathy.

Arohanui

Mark Hutchins-Pond
Contemporary Art Curator

Manos UkuRere_Manos-Nathan

 

 

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The Path to Pātaka – PART 1

“Get a van, son.”

“Get a van.
Fill it with cleaning supplies.
Then you can be your own boss.”

These sage words
I remember
spoken to me as a passive-aggressive offering of hope
concealing my mother’s dismay
in hearing my decision…

…to go to art school…

These words have reverberated in my thoughts
ever since that first day
at the turn of the millennium
when I packed my bags
and headed off on my adventure…

…into the world of art…

This “back-up plan”
as it were
for when art inevitably failed me
or I failed at it
has never come to fruition.

As it is
fifteen years later
I now find need for a van and cleaning supplies
Not as a career path
but rather to run around and clean up…

…after my four messy, art-loving children…


Reuben Friend

Director, Pataka Art + Museum

Reuben Friend photo by Claire Giblin

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DUST OFF THOSE PAINT BRUSHES, THE FRIENDS OF PATAKA ARTS AWARD IS BACK!

2015 Friends Arts Award

Entry forms are available from Pataka’s front desk or download the pdf below, may the creative force be with you:

2015 Arts Award conditions and entry form

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