Can I just say though, that there are some amazing art initiatives happening in South Auckland, particularly at the Fresh Gallery in Otara…Curated and run by Ema Tavola, this gallery supports local and Pacific artists, bringing visual art into the context of the Otara shopping centre. This project is Council funded, and despite my rant below about the sting being taken out of street art by its connection with Council & corporate funding, I do realise what a boost it can give to artists, particularly artists who don’t have parental money to fund their projects etc etc. Fresh Gallery, in my view, is about bringing art in line with the community, and not imposing ideas of “what art is” onto the community. Particularly inspiring for me was the initial “Art Takeaway” self-published magazine produced by Ema and others which featured art by local Pacific artists, and was handed out at the Otara markets. Some people who would never bother going into the city to visit the Auckland Art Gallery now had some art to take home and think about, and the artists featured in the magazine would have the opportunity to have their work viewed by their own communities and families.
I mean, perhaps similarly, as Art Takeaway and Fresh Gallery challenge traditional curation and exhibition, “street art” appearing in galleries act as a challenge to traditional notion of what good art is. But I remember reading something by Elliot Askew a while ago, perhaps in a NZ hip hop magazine, where he was saying how frustrated he was when people tried to seperate the taggers from the street “artists”, how he felt that you couldn’t just dismiss tagging and love aerosol art. And it’s really annoying when people think they’re edgy cos they’ve got a piece by Misery in their front room. A public art becomes private.
Check out Ema’s blog which features info about Fresh Gallery and other community based art projects.