Fresh Horizons workshop bring leading Pasifika artists to CPIT
A three-day creative workshop with a difference concludes at CPIT today with an exhibition of work by secondary school Pasifika students from 5.30 – 7pm in the Rakaia Centre.
The programme, Fresh Horizons, gives the three participating tutors – leading Pasifika creatives: fashion artist Lindah Lepou, printmaker Josh Bashford and performance poet Tusiata Avia - the freedom to bring their own unique approaches to inspiring the 35 students.
They are determined to do a lot more than simply share a few creative skills.
“The nature of the workshop is a lineage approach looking into their own genealogy to realise and understand uniqueness,” Lepou says. “A lot of them tend to be lost and confused, looking outside themselves for answers. I remind them that it is right there in front of them.”
Lepou’s approach goes far beyond experiments with fashion art and possible careers; she helps the students to explore fundamental issues of identity and self-confidence. It’s powerful stuff.
“The first day is the toughest because it is deep. They are asking questions that they wouldn’t usually ask. They have not seen the importance or relevance of asking these questions before.
“They often go home and ask their parents about their genealogy and parents get excited because the kids are interested. Then they start dreaming and the second day they are on fire!”
With purposefully limited materials – paper and black plastic – the students not only start to create but they start to realise that they are not being judged and in fact there is no right or wrong way.
“Then they start playing and refining the garment. What excites me is watching them blow themselves away. The mistakes are the fun part, I tell them.”
Lindah uses her experiences of overcoming discrimination as a Samoan ‘Fa’afafine’ to inform her work, turning her challenges into positives and sharing her discoveries about life with others.
“Through Fresh Horizons I can show the students how to think for themselves, create for themselves and not be afraid. They think it is a three day workshop but it is life! They will look back on this in years to come and go ‘oh right, that’s what she meant’.”
Fresh Horizons is run by CPIT in collaboration with Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust from Auckland and Christchurch’s NO LIMITS Pasifika youth programme.