Creative Wānanga with Jack Gray
21 March 2020 - 22 March 2020
Second day of the Creative Wānanga with Jack Gray, Sunday 22 March at St Paul St Gallery
Saturday 21 – Sunday 22 March, 1 – 4pm
Facilitated by Atamira Dance Company artistic director Jack Gray, the Creative Wānanga was a two-day experience of Place / Time / Space, inviting the public to discuss, share and participate in a multi-sensory series of events situated both in and outside the Gallery.
Responding to questions such as: How do surfaces speak? How are stories and experiences inscribed in the surfaces that surround us?, that shaped the Speaking Surfaces project, Jack worked with dancers Matiu Hamuera and Abbie Rogers, and sound artist Rachel Shearer to create the Wānanga.
Each day began with a welcome circle and participants were invited to introduce themselves while drawing their story of whakapapa with chalk on the ground outside the Gallery. Each story adding to the drawings, making a multi layered image. Each day had different activities inside and outside the Gallery space including responsive ‘free’ writing, movement, and audio recordings made by each participant; evaporation paintings after artist Lori Esposito; walks to Myers Park and down Queen Street to Shortland Street, Fort Street, Point Britomart and Beach Road to connect with hidden waterways and the original shoreline. Along the way Jack read from public information about the pre- and post-colonial geography and histories of the area and asked participants to pay attention to visual and aural signs of life and share observations.
The Wānanga concluded in the Gallery, within the Speaking Surfaces space with a 20-minute improvisation by dancers Maitu and Abbie drawing on their embodied memories and reflections of the weekend, accompanied by Rachel’s audio. The improvisation was filmed by Jack, Megan Smith, and Charlotte Huddleston. Jack edited this footage with audio and video from the Wānanga activities into a 15-minute video, which is available to watch via the link below. Also below, is a selection of images of the Wānanga activities taken by participants over the two days.
The Creative Wānanga was an independently organised project that was included in the Auckland Arts Festival Visual Arts programme. It took place as scheduled on 21 – 22 March, in the time of pre-lockdown Aotearoa New Zealand from midnight Wednesday 25 March. In response to the rapidly changing situation brought about by COVID-19, the Creative Wānanga was modified to accommodate social distancing. The workshop was shortened to 1-4pm on each day, and adapted concepts according to recommended health and safety practices – such as maintaining physical distance.
Speaking Surfaces is a collaboration between St Paul St Gallery and AUT Spatial Design students and staff. It is a project developed to reimagine the gallery’s capacities as a platform for encounters and experiences. The project has multiple and layered phases, and it runs throughout 2020 with artworks and exhibitions, performances, screenings, gatherings, conversations, and teaching. These activities are not only experiences of physical space, but of time, and of the many different energies that inform all our states of being, doing and thinking.
Chalk, Creative Wānanga with Jack Gray, Saturday 21 March at St Paul St Gallery
Evaporation walk, Creative Wānanga with Jack Gray, Saturday 21 March at St Paul St Gallery
Myers Park, Creative Wānanga with Jack Gray, Saturday 21 March at St Paul St Gallery
Coastline walk, Creative Wānanga with Jack Gray, Sunday 22 March at St Paul St Gallery
Creative Wānanga with Jack Gray, Saturday 21 March – Sunday 22 March at St Paul St Gallery