New work by Antonio Filipo, Leilani Kake, Sean Kerrigan, Mele Penitani, Genevieve Pini and Siliga David Setoga at Fresh Gallery Otara | November 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Pie Time

I read that last blog whilst eating an Irvine's Pie Time Steak & Cheese pie ($1)

23.5 grams of Fat
1.7 grams of Sugar
841.5 miligrams of Sodium


Food Glorious Food

mEAT, grEAT and EAT.

LOLLY SCRAMBLE: Mix half a kg of assorted sweets (random) to a glass and a half of full cream New Zealand milk in a saucepan , bring to a boil let the flavours infuse, influence, interwine, interplay with each other before allowing it to settle. Serve warm with your favourite hot beverage and a good conversation.

Meat: Beef to be precise, by-product- MILK
Lollies: Sweet confectionery made from sugar, flavouring and colouring, healthier alternative to sugar-HONEY.
Milk and Honey isn't this what we came for?

Thoughts on artpiece: Homage to Salt and Tomato Sauce. What's an Island Table without Skellerup Table Salt and Watties Tomato Sauce moreso fish (taken from the Pacific Seas by Asian fishing trallers return in cans smothered in Tomato Sauce). Fish and chips a Kiwi institution salted and drenched in tomato sauce. Oregano, mixed herbs, chives, parsley, garlic nah bro Island seasoning consists of one ingredient SALT 'see how it runs' through everything we make. Can't cook without it, so small yet has the power to influence any dish, also becomes something which we cannot do without. First sign of heart disease first on the casualty list SALT (though its' snuck in at every chance without the boss looking). Salt has become a pillar of our dining and cooking community so much so that without it our Island meals would become bland and un-islandised. A metaphor for our culture where the ruling class small yet holds the balance of power to influence. Our Samoaness is the salt which flavours all that we do and defines us as a Samoan dish or not. We have become dependant on the definition that it does influence all that we do. Afraid of being outcast, ostricised and being labelled not-Samoan we fall in line.

I am sufferring from cultural heart disease and I know exactly what I have to cut down, it doesn't mean I will be cutting off completely that which adds flavour to my dish but rather be selective to what dish I do add it to. It wont be the only seasoning in my cupboard but rather one of many. After all our parents brought us here to taste life the problem was that they put salt on everything.


We dwell in the under current, why and for how much longer.

I was brought up on a diet of humble pie. Always lower yourself son, take the low road, respect authority never under any circumstance shall you question or challenge the higher power, listen to your teacher and do as your told. You have no power relinquish it to your parents, to your minister, to your teacher, to your elders, to your Matai, to your culture. You are who they say you are, defined externally by our cultural 'stop and go' men.

In this new world where we've learned the rules of engagement we've given our power to old world leaders who don't even know how to play the game. Is our culture keeping us down, is it the sub-marine thats keeping us sub-median. I agree with Sean that the death of culture lies in its definition. We have practised the art of defining what is fa'aSamoa yet the principles of what it means to be Samoan so far removed that we're now out of touch. Samoan culture to me has become a facade for the old world leaders (matais/ruling class) to inflate their egos off the backs of the new world financiers (me), all in the name of culture and what it means to be Samoan. Culturally keeping up with the Jones' yet originally it was all about sharing and survival.

I have always classed myself as Samoan first, being kiwi was in the under-current. I was a Samoan incidently from New Zealand (though born and bred here), but in questioning and analysing my identity learning the rules of fa'aSamoa and to my disgust what we practise is galaxies away from the fa'aSamoa manifesto 1.0 that I have realised that the simple act of questioning and challenging is my kiwiness and that my fa'aSamoa is the under current. Although my Samoan roots strong and prevelant runs through me like a hydrodam it is filtered through and gives power to my kiwiness. No longer will I do as my parents did as they inturn have done as their parents did, its a whole new world, the times they are a change'd (no dis-respect and with all honour due). We are destined to rise we just have to let go of what is holding us down. We're not in a Sub-marine we're in a blimp (small nonrigid airship) that's under water.

In relation to Meat and Lollies? Food glorious food (next blob)

Monday, August 25, 2008


Here is a digital/ drawing/ design from Tony... I like it - EAT LIES!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Submarine Part 3: under water

Sub marine simply means under water, well, under and below, beneath etc. The idea of a submarine, and making one in regards to this exhibition is about the dialogue between the culture of Polynesians who still reside in the Islands and the Polynesians who are, for all intents and purposes, New Zealanders who have racial lineage back to those Islands. But before I go into that I'll speak a little about my own racial lineage. My Surname is Irish, as is my given name, and they both have meanings in Gaelic. Sean by itself means old and wise but is usually given specific meaning by the words used with it. Seanicol is the word for story teller so when the word Sean is used it is in association with other words that describe a way of defining the group, as it were, by its learned knowledge being brought into the present. Wisedom.
As regards surnames the Irish pre christians grouped themselves into tribal units and named themselves after Heroes and so the earliest groupings shared some blood, as it were, but this wasn't as important as community and a connection to a specific place. That place is a mountain, next to a river, in County Mayo in the free state of Ireland. The word itself, Kerrigan, has various meanings, again in context with it's use, but the basic meaning is dark and black because the -igan is the defining part and is directly linked to the Norse word meaning the same thing. The Kerr- simply means people of the marshes. A literal translation is the people of the black marshes but Gaelic is not a literal language but suffice to say that the surname defines a tribe with a place.
Okay, with that said I could define myself as Irish, and I used to when I was younger, but given I was born in Canada to parents born in Glasgow, Scotland and Torquay in the South West of England and my links to one male descendant, a great grandfather, born in Ireland means my Irishness is tenuous at best. One 1/16th.
But some things have happened in my life and I've found out a little bit about the Irish and these things have culminated in me knowing, with a certainty felt in my bones, that I am indeed Irish.

These things that happened are personel. They form part of my inner mythology. They may show in the outer world, or the myth that is me reacting and making my life, but they are for me alone because they can only ever mean something to me and I found them and felt the truth of them in that place where we are only ourselves.

So this story kind of illustrates one form of the sub- marine, a beneficial one for me, and it means that the information that came to me "overland", rational and reasoned, didn't have any real relevance until I understood the communications that came to me "underwater". So the underwater could be the sub- conscious directions in our lives. Where an intrinsic genetic memory plays itself out in our actions.

This is a personel interplay between the overland and the underwater, with me in the middle, but what happens in the micro (personel) sense also works in a macro sense. And this is what submarine (finally!) is about in relation to the meat and lollies thing I'm a part of.

So the short answer is that the Islands that spawned a particluar culture still have inhabitants who live that culture and because of the connection unbroken by travel away from those Islands I would think that their personel connections to the reality of that culture would be unthinking and felt subconciously without regard for any conscious appraisal. But the people who are, by migration, disconnected to this living culture may be less subconscious in their outlook and need to find validity in themselves, in feeling they belong, by conscious appraisal of their cultural roots; but from within another and wider cultural setting. Here we get the interplay between a subconscious enactment of culture and a conscious enactment of culture. So the submarine is all about the feedback of people looking for culture and finding it in its prescribed setting and the subconscious interplay from the dispossesed, searching for meaning, back to the possesed, who may already have meaning but because it is subconscious, may even be looking for a new meaning.

So the idea revolves around an Art industry in a consumer society making and defining experts in a field that is artificially created away from its original context and how this new definition of culture finds its way back to its origins and affects those origins. Personelly I don't see that such interplay is a problem at all. It is the growth of culture. The problem, as I see it, is when, as above, the balance between conscious and subconscious is no longer in balance, and too much conscious effort, ie; affirmative action, makes the idea of a thing of more importance than the thing itself.

But really, I'm just going to make a submarine... and cover it with stuff so it looks as if I know what I'm talking about. Do I, who knows? I'm just making it up as I go along.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Submarines: Part 2

I will digress yet again, before I get to the core of the matter and discuss the idea of myself as a white man in Otara, and therefore in the minority within the micro sense, within a minority in the macro sense. I have grown up in Mangere and Otara, and I still am growing up, and watched as others who shared no differences except skin colour and some cultural differences make headway in the Art world simply because they had those differences. To me, from my vantage, our similarities, given we came from the same socio- economic background, went to the same schools and worked at the same jobs, far outweighed the supposed differences referenced from outside to address disparity of potentials.
And I can except that people come straight from a different cultural zone should be awarded the time and effort to acclimatise but as the generations become acclimatised the differences become a mere adjunct to socialisation. A person born in New Zealand whos parents have been in New Zealand for more than 20 years is by all intents a New Zealander and cultural lineage is of choice rather than circumstance.
But don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that culture isn't important, it may very well be the most important thing we have as humans, but for it to survive and flourish then, I think, we have to regard it as as self evident truth that needs no support except that which we give it simply by doing what we would do by choice. I can round that out somewhat by offering that it is the way that we percieve our culture and enact its life by our choices that keep a culture alive. Culture is not something defined after the fact but something created by the enactment of the fact.

I think there is an absolute danger in supporting something after the fact because it, the culture, then becomes liable to too much interference in the act of definition. By defining something we somehow strip it of mystery and the potential for growth and by definition we create a small death. This act of labelling the thing opens it up to opinion and, in no small way, its ability to be profited from in a wider context. This, in turn, makes the subject one of liabilities and so its security becomes more important than its role. All the little deaths start to add up and what was once a free growing exciting and mysterious thing that nourished those who came into contact with it now is an industry subject to market forces like any other commodity. This is the big death and though it may look like a culture it is merely the wrapping.

But what exactly is culture? I would surmise that culture is us, as humans, living and breathing and growing, within the context of our enviroment. It may be the gestalt between inviroment and enviroment. The dialectic between our inner selves as we live our lives as our outer selves and all of this in a specific time and place.

All of the above, though, is only a small fraction of what I think defines the idea of culture simply because the reasoning involved only follows the accepted christian - judaic worldview. This gives us physical and intellectual viewpoints, and rather limited ones at that, and we haven't even brought in the myriad of spiritual levels.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

MEAT & LOLLIES events...

Opening: 6-8pm, Thursday 30 October 2008 - Fresh Gallery Otara, Manukau City

Public Programme:
Meat & Lollies artists will be making work live in the Otara Community Courtyard, outside Fresh Gallery Otara to coincide with the Otara Art Market from 9am - 12pm:

Saturday 1 November
Live video making
Artists: Leilani Kake, Mele Penitani, Janet Lilo

Saturday 8 November
Soft Stone carving
Artist: Sean Kerrigan

Saturday 15 November
Stencil & Print making
Artists: Antonio Filipo, Siliga Setoga

Exhibitions Dates: 31 October - 22 November 2008.

American Time

All the dates and times are wrong on this blog because like most things in the world... it's on America Time!
If I could be bothered I'd check the time things are published, in Auckland time against what the blog publishes and give you a time zone... This is published at 8.56am on Wednesday August 20.

Performance Art?

Oh, Monday night I did my first performance at the Vitamin S thing at the Wine Cellar in St Kevins arcade in K Road. Vitamin S is an experimental music thing where unrehearsed groups are put together to improvise music, on the spot, and though I've been on the list for years, I finally got around to making some stuff I could use in the context of the ideal. The photo is of a bunch of analog synthesizers and an effect "pedal" or two which, when knobs are twiddled, make all sorts of unruly and barely controllable sounds. On the night I played with a drummer and a pianist and after our set we we're asked, to much applause, to do some more!

Interesting thing was that just before we were to start I had my reasonably sharp pocket knife out and was talking to the organiser while using the knife to pry the back off a piezo microphone. While talking the knife slipped and dug about 5-7mm into my left index finger tip. The guy then proceeded to introduce the performance while I walked off to the kitchen to get some band aids (pun not intentional), though I could tell a stitch or two were most probably required. I got my band aids then returned as the introduction was fading and got into making music. While I was playing I noticed a coupla drops of blood on the instruments and thought to myself, as I picked them up with my good index finger, on the other hand, and licked them, that this particular artistic enterprise is going to go well for me because I have, without thought, blooded my first performance. Oh, I've actually blooded "meat and lollies" as well. I cut myself on the packing crate plywood I'm going to use to build my submarine!

Vitamin S is every Monday night at the Wine Cellar at 8.30pm and is a gold coin entry. The proceeds are distriuted equally amongst the performers.This week I'm building a drum machine and a couple of amplified stringed instruments which will hopefully be up and running by next Monday.

H.M.S. Affirmative Action

Yesterday I went and visited Ema down at Fresh and explained what the submarine thing is all about for me. Two things are valid about using the submarine and the first and most important, for me as an artist, is that I've been on this binge making models, you know, the type that 14 year old boys make and hang off the ceiling.
I have, in the past, painted them up in cultural designs, so that in the context of themselves we're taking about the justaposition between supposedly defined cultural "islands" and the idea of mass culture.

So the most recent model buying I've done was a humongous (in model terms) submarine simply because I like the shape of these things... and it offers quite a good canvas to paint on.

So the move into "meat and lollies" needed to be aligned with what I was already up to and it was no jump at all to take the idea of submarines and develop a content suitable to the new context.

Life imitates Art? or is it Art imitates Life? I don't know or care but I find it interesting how I'm able to find meaning in my direction before meaning is even applied to my direction. So the submarine idea appeared simply because it was already there and all I had to do was give it a relationship within the context of "meat and lollies" and that was the easy part because all I did was dredge up stuff I've always been aware of.

H.M.S. Affirmative Action

I've grown up with this particular idea at work around me and I must say that it really isn't a good one. One may think, being a recipient of positive discrimination, that such things are merry and good but to be brought forward and given chances simply because of something, in the grand scheme of things, so arbitrary as skin colour, and not because of ability or passion, or at least not as the defining characteristic, is , simply put, a way to destroy talent as opposed to creating it.

The meat of creative enterprise is resistance and work. Having to work against odds and realise your work is your own truth. A truth you have to stand beside and possibly accept ridicule about. You must hunt the quarry, look deep into yourself and set your trap or sharpen the spear of your intellect. And when you have killed your truth you must haul it home on your back and rend it into truth that will sustain you. Blood flows and the gore of unguarded life is all around you. How can one but help to find the truth of their existence within such circumstances.

Lollies are sweets. Oh, haven't you done well and here is your reward. You make us happy so we praise you with the sweetness of our approval. But lollies are also incentive. Please do more pleasing work! In this regard lollies are also a truth, of course they are truth, all is truth but the question is... to what truth do we align ourselves? To the meat that ensures survival or to the lollies that say we are already surviving and its time to celebrate.

But what has this got to do with submarines?

I'll talk about that tomorrow.

Walk in Beauty!

random photos I found

Sunday, August 17, 2008


The latin prefix 'sub' can mean 'under', 'beneath', or 'below' (such as in the word 'subconscious'), 'inferior to', or part of (such as in the word 'subhuman'), 'less than normal' (such as in 'substitute'), or 'almost/nearly' (such as in the word 'subcentral')

Food is...

"Food is culture; food is shorthand for who you are."

Vanessa Hua
'The Art of Chinese Cooking', Newsweek (June 30, 2008)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Second Meating

Second meeting was held at the studio home of Sean Kerrigan in Otara, working with soft stone sculpture as a means to think about and discuss directions for the project.

Photos contributed by Tony Filipo.

First Meating

Artists Tony Filipo, Leilani Kake, Sean Kerrigan, Genevieve Pini and Siliga Setoga got together for a first brainstorm at Fresh Gallery Otara (12 July 2008) during the exhibition, "Black Hibiscus" by Louise Stevenson.