Exhibition explores connection with land

28 April 2017

Exhibition explores connection with land

A connection with land is the theme of an exhibition of new work by Northland artist, Filani Filina Macassey, to be shown at NorthTec’s Geoff Wilson Gallery in June.

Filani started looking at earth as a medium for her artwork, after attending an EBANZ (Earth Building Association of New Zealand) tour in 2015.

She said: “Getting my hands back into the earth reminds me so much of childhood play - mud pies and mud fights. I think if you haven’t experienced this during your childhood, you’ve missed out on something essential in life, this being a connection to nature, an abandonment of inhibitions.”

Filani has used materials sourced from the earth – paper mulberry fibre from Fiji, natural mud pigments from Northland and Fiji, charcoal, traditional dye and printing inks. The natural elements are sourced from regions to which she feels a connection: “I managed to bring red mud back from a recent trip to Kadavu Island in Fiji, where our village and family land is.”

The overall concept of this body of work highlights ideas of space, time, utilisation of raw materials and a personal form of map and mark making.

Fijian-born Filani is a graduate of Elam School of Fine Arts in Auckland. She has been involved in many community art initiatives and has exhibited in New Zealand, Fiji and Europe. Her work is inspired by the duality of having been born in Fiji and living most of her life, from the age of six, in New Zealand. “I suppose it is a way of creating an individualistic identity,” she says.

After travelling around South America and Cuba, she moved to Kaiwaka in October 2015 and is currently setting up a studio. Filani recently completed an internship at the Geoff Wilson Gallery, and is the Coordinator of the newly-opened OWL Community Hub in Wellsford.

Her exhibition, Abstraction – Latitude by Longitude, opens at the Geoff Wilson Gallery on Thursday, 15 June from 4pm to 6pm, and runs until 13 July. Gallery opening hours are Wednesdays from 10am to 6pm, and Thursday and Fridays from 10am to 4pm.