Vanya Taule'alo – Artist in Samoa

August 12, 2011

a blue true dream of sky – photography by Rachel Nankivell opening at The Vanya Taule’alo Gallery 17th-31st August

Filed under: 2011 blogs — vanyataulealo @ 11:20 pm

a blue true dream of sky is a solo exhibition by New Zealand photographer Rachel Nankivell, opening at The Vanya Taule’alo Gallery on 17th August.

Taking you beyond a quiet stroll in the garden, these photographs encapsulate something of the unique persona of flowers, inviting curiousity while engaging one in a moment both intimate and surprising. They invite you to step closer, tilt your head in puzzlement, and delight in your exploration as mystery unfolds.

Rachel has been making photographs since childhood. Her father and grandfather were both keen photographers, so she grew up holding Box Brownies and Polaroid cameras, naturally using them as a different set of eyes to view life, a way of focusing the myriad of detail down into a viewfinder rectangle, in order to see life one image at a time.

Rachel came to Samoa in 2010, accompanying partner Peter Zwart, who holds the position of NZAID Manager at the NZ High Commission. They have four children, who delight in a life free of Wellington’s southerlies, filled with creativity and outdoor play. Rachel says:

“Moving to Samoa has offered my family the chance to explore a new land and culture, strengthening our understanding and connection with the Samoan people. I believe the experience nurtures our children’s future as well, as we enjoy such a multi-cultural society in Aotearoa. I am sure they will hold the Samoan culture, in particular, close to their hearts as they grow.

“Often it is the children who lead me to the subjects I photograph – they are my hunters and gatherers, leading me to particularly interesting streams of light, glistening flowers, or peculiar insects. They skip into my studio with birds’ nests, lizard eggs, huge seed pods, sweet posies and rusty leaves. They are my inspiration. And when I am away from them, with my camera slung around my neck, waiting for my next image to reveal itself, I do as they would, I become curious and playful, I get down on my knees and climb up high and twirl around a little, very quietly … it works beautifully – the magic is unveiled, the image created!”

It is this sense of magic that shines through the macro floral images Rachel has created for this exhibition, celebrating the abundantly vibrant life of flowers in Samoa, while also giving a glimpse towards Aotearoa, represented in her images from a summer photography shoot in Otago earlier this year.

“The opportunity to exhibit my images at The Vanya Taule’alo Gallery is an example of the generosity of people here, and the interest expressed in each other’s talents and visions. In Aotearoa I worked with my local arts community, facilitating community art projects, and managing a community art gallery, working to bring connection and collaboration within the arts community, and to promote the importance of the arts as a way to share stories, learn, and celebrate. It is, therefore, particularly exciting for me to exhibit at this pioneering gallery, and to support its growth. The Vanya Taule’alo Gallery will provide a supportive launchpad for emerging Samoan artists, as well as an important venue for international and local established artists, and vital connections with the international arts community.”

a blue true dream of sky will show from 17 to 31 August at The Vanya Taule’alo Gallery, Si’usega, Apia. Contact 777-2993 or 21488 for opening hours and other enquiries.



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