The Papatuanuku Series Launch | Queensberry



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Following the opening of The Papatuanuku Series we spoke to Tessa Williams from Moemoea Collective about the idea behind the work, and the launch itself.

"Man, it really was just the most incredible evening! The atmosphere was on fire, with everyone who attended blown away, not only by the photos but the launch itself. I knew that the majority of the 150 who attended had never had the pleasure of going to an art launch, so I did everything I could to ensure they had the same experience as a regular gallery-goer, in the hopes to start them on their own art journey."


"Young working families are usually so busy, tied up with work, home life and young children, that they hardly hear about events like these, let alone have the time to go. Many don't cater to family-friendly needs, where you can feel comfortable taking your children along.

"Maori was another main focus of my promotion. From working at Victim Support I learnt, sadly, that our people are very high in the victim abuse stats. I wanted this message, of caring for our women and land, to get to those whanau at the flax roots. I wanted to give them positive imagery to communicate the message, so they would feel inspired rather than ashamed."

"There was Kono's Tohu wine, which no one expected but were all so thankful for. Amba Holly blew everyone away with her soulful tunes welcoming them into the space. Expressions Curator Chris made the whole process so easy and enjoyable to exhibit in their venue. Ange from Wellingtons M?ori women's refuge did a quick speech on the mahi the refugees do within our communities, and got people talking about how they would like to help out more in this area. I finished my speech by asking everyone to start conversations at home about how they could improve the way they care for each other and our environment. Everyone was so supportive and so happy to be in this waka together.


"I received many beautiful comments about the photos and the message, with more than a handful of viewers coming to me crying, the effect of a particular photo. Every m?m? involved was so proud to be on the wall, with only three not able to attend but watching the live stream overseas. People loved that each photo was paired with a section on the purakau (legend) of Papat??nuku. I was asked a few times if it could be made into a book, so maybe I will have to look into that now."


Tessa shared some tips for other photographers thinking about putting on their own exhibition:

"I have learnt so much on this journey. First thing I'd say is, if this is your first time exhibiting, do it solely for the learning experience and build on that for the next one! Plan. Have the message down before you find what you are shooting. Take your time.

"Ask for feedback everywhere: funding apps (helpful to know why you didn't get the money), sponsors (even the ones who say no). Who are you selling to or gifting to? Ask for advice from anyone you think may have any knowledge around exhibiting, but just take what you want from that advice too. And don't give up! If you have to show them in your home or local park who cares?"


If you're in New Zealand, you can still see this exhibition before it closes on June 28th. More details here

See more from Moemoea Collective | Tessa Williams:

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