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Freedom (Digital Exhibition) - Cuba Dupa Arts Festival

28-29 March 2020 (Wellington)

The Nomadic Art Gallery’s exhibition at the Cuba Dupa Arts festival is the last in a series of related exhibitions organised throughout Wellington. By means of different artists and art media, these three-in-a-row exhibitions critically explore different aspects of freedom while uncovering essential aspects of our existence as human beings.

The first exhibition, at Wellington’s International Pride Parade, is a public participatory installation materialistically embodying freedom of expression, choice, thought and movement. The follow-up exhibition takes place at “Te Aro”, an urban winery, where poet Rhys Feeney will perform alongside a curated program of moving image art. This ensemble should allow spectators to question our idea of free will, self-determination and the extent to which our identities are determined by personal wishes, passions, fears, and desires.

Our last exhibition aims to shed light on a rather overlooked aspect of freedom: the interdependency of each other’s freedom. In other words, “where someone’s freedom ends is where someone else’s freedom begins”. And nature is there to remind of us such interdependency. In many ways, humans’ strive for freedom is detrimental to other species’ freedom and existence. This urgent state of affairs forms the core object of our interactive “last” exhibition at CubaDupa. The artists confronting us with the fact that we should rethink our priorities are:

Andy Leleisi’uao, a renowned New Zealand artist from Samoan heritage. Andy began working on paintings of exotic animals (Rhino, Lion, and Giraffe) out of fear that these fascinating creatures might go extinct in the coming decades. Being able to show documents and personal accounts of these animals could one day be a sign of immense power and privilege. In his prophetic undertones, the artist creates an extra-material visual installation reminding us to take care of (y)our existence and for everything that lives and moves.

Grae Burton, a New Zealand actor, producer, director and current manager of the Lake House Arts Centre in Takapuna (Auckland). In the booth of our Nomadic Art Gallery, Grae shares his video-graphic artwork filmed on the same apocalyptic roads as the Mad Max films and later edited for a period of two years. In this sci-Di work, there is a supposed geometry applied to the collapsing of gravity. As the road and the driver, allegorically indicating the megalomania of the human race, draw closer to the horizon, reality folds in on itself. The spectator is the last witness of an unknown reality in the face of the end of everything.

Ahsin Ahsin, a Cook Island-born artist currently living in Hamilton, who made a name for himself through shows in Melbourne and Tauranga Art Gallery. His aesthetic trademark(s), mostly immortalized as murals, are influenced by the 1980s-90’s sci-fi Films and street art. On the outside of our gallery and alongside the abovementioned dystopian visual scenarios, Ahsin will be doing a live painting performance. This will take spectators to the artist’s deep unfolding grounds of imagination, where extra-terrestrial creatures exist by means of graffiti gestures.

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