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Whau Arts Festival 2021

The Whau Arts Festival is back again for 2021. This year’s festival is the “Whau ArtBOOK”, free for all and soon to be available from your local dairy in the Whau area. It showcases, celebrates and activates the creative energy of the area – and goes well with a pack of chippies or a mince and cheese pie!

The Whau Arts Festival was conceived by Avondale-based Art collective “Whau the People” (WTP) in 2014. Each year has been so different – from a 24hour festival to choirs in laundromats, with epic public art murals throughout. This sixth festival provides an exciting and new (for us!) arts platform for emerging and established artists – the “Whau ArtBOOK”. 

Check out the past Whau Arts Festivals here.

The Whau ArtBOOK features over 50 Artists across all ages and disciplines. Because of the spread of innovative and traditional arts, Whau The People believe it will appeal to the wide-ranging cultural melting pot of Whau residents. 

The ArtBOOK illuminates local talent such as installation artist Ekarasa Doblanovic. Ekarasa coordinated participants young and old(er) from Avondale Intermediate, the Cosmopolitan Retirement Village and various community workshops to create the “Intergenerational Art Project”. The work which began at the 2019 Whau Arts Festival is now complete with over 200 hand-made and hand-painted tiles installed on the Age Concern building in Avondale, arguably the Whau’s arts mecca. At 1850 Great North Road, Avondale you can see “Double Lives” by female graf artist Holly Ross, and in Kelston, Numa MacKenzie refreshes his 2019 work “Faux Patutiki”. 

You’ll be invited to interact with colouring-in competitions, games, recipes, a quiz, art and critical writing. 

Young local artist Jacob Hamilton’s photo essays capture his ‘walking the beat’ to visit all 40 dairies in the Whau, and photo portraits celebrate the meticulous work of Taulanga U Seniors such as Tominika Fononga. Tominika is part of a group of Tongan mothers and grandmothers who share skills and keep alive traditional tongan weaving and crafts. 

“This ArtBOOK is our Whau Arts Festival 2020, but we didn’t want to lose that sense of bringing people together which all our other festivals have done. How are we going to eat kai…create games and paint together in this new Covidworld?”, recalls Jody McMillan, Whau The People Trustee and Festival manager.

The lockdown put the handbrake on the Festival which was to have occurred in June 2020, however the ArtBOOK is Whau The People’s creative response to managed isolation whilst reflecting on what and who became an “essential service”. 

Jody says, “we are stoked with the ArtBOOK which we reckon still showcases quality arts but is accessible to everyone in the community. COVID has probably meant that even though we’re not organising events and calling people together, this Festival has an even bigger but simpler reach by being in every dairy across the Whau. It’s a great feeling”.  

The books will be available for FREE this year, from your local dairy across New Lynn, Green Bay, Kelston, Rosebank, Avondale, New Windsor and Blockhouse Bay.  

Shout out to all our local dairy owners for their essential work this year.  The Whau Local Board and Creative New Zealand for supporting the Whau Arts Festival BOOK.

Whau Arts Festival 2020 featured in the Beacon November issue.

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