Arts is about work produced by artists, creatives and live performers.
Arts includes visual arts, which are creative art forms found in museums, galleries, libraries, archives, cultural hubs, universities, public spaces and publications. These art forms include painting, sculpture, drawing, murals, installations, photography, antiques, ceramics, weaving, textiles and crafts, as well as their many multi-disciplinary forms.
Arts also includes performing arts, which are artworks performed live. These artworks include music, song, sound arts, theatre, dance, opera, circus and puppetry.
Presenting visual and performing arts celebrates artists’ creative ideas and many forms of practice. The arts can inform audiences, stimulate their critical thinking and boost their wellbeing, through sociality, enjoyment and mental stimulation. The arts are a powerful and enjoyable way to learn about the world we live in, by experiencing the cultures of others – visually or through taking part. Arts can also demonstrate the distinctive features of languages, cultures, fashion, food and experiences, and the similarities and differences between them.
Artists, creators and live performers gain confidence when their work is appreciated. Presenting or performing their work helps them connect with their audience and other artists. Artists in the Southern Hemisphere who have worked together on cross-cultural projects have found it has stimulated new research and projects, enabled them to build their skills, and helped them find new ways to share their work. Many establish long-lasting professional relationships and enjoy life-long collaborations.
“Working with artists from Aotearoa and parts of South America has been an enriching experience, which has exceeded my expectations as a curator. Audiences have responded with excitement and curiosity to the arts and culture of other parts of the South.”
For many Southern Hemisphere visual artists, projects like The South Project activate multi-year opportunities to connect and work with other artists, through forums, exhibitions and residencies. Art institutions, such as the Govett-Brewser Art Gallery and Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University College of Creative Arts Toi Rauwhārangi, offer residency programmes that enable artists to experience a cultural exchange, which may lead to them creating a new artwork, performance or production.
The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery’s focus on art from the Pacific rim has led it to offer several residencies to Latin American artists, including Gabriel Kuri (Mexico), Javier Téllez (Venezuela) and Nicolás Paris (Colombia). Through its Te Whare Hēra programme, the College of Creative Arts Toi Rauwhārangi has brought three Latin American arts researchers to Wellington: Eduardo Abaroa (Mexico), Martín Sastre (Uruguay) and José Roca (Colombia).
New Zealand and Latin American organisations with common infrastruture or funding often share exhibitions, performances and public artworks (such as the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia exchanging the exhibitions E Tū Ake: Māori Standing Strong and Aztecs: Conquest and glory) or commission work from each others’ artists (such as the Latin Collective Mural in Wellington). New Zealand artists are involved in many major art events in Latin America, such as the São Paulo Art Biennial and Medellin International Poetry Festival.
Art and dance schools, galleries and theatres in New Zealand and Latin America invite artists and performers to share their work through an exhibition or live performance. For example, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki showed the exhibition Space to Dream: Recent Art from South America and A Gentil Carioca, Rio de Janeiro, has invited New Zealand artist Dane Mitchell to exhibit his art at the gallery.
Embassies also support cross-cultural arts exchanges, through performances (such as a performance of the album Tutakitaki and the Live Brazil festival, both supported by the Embassy of Brazil in New Zealand), or exhibitions (such as Portrait of Mexico, supported by the Embassy of Mexico in New Zealand, and Legado Vivo Māori – Tuku Iho, supported by New Zealand embassies in Latin America).
Individually, New Zealand and Latin American artists have forged many creative collaborative relationships in music (such as the album Kaleidoscope, which featured Brazilian and New Zealand musicians, including Julie Bevan); dance (such as Sur Sur, which involved nine artists from Chile and New Zealand); theatre (such as MAU Mapuche theatre company, established by New Zealander Lemi Ponifasio and Mapuche artists in Chile); and websites (such as Legendary Links – A Muysca x Māori Collab, which features legends told by Māori and Muysca creatives).
Currently, New Zealand’s strongest arts links are with Brazil, Chile and Mexico, but our joint projects have also involved Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Introduction by Dr Zara Stanhope