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SP Games 2015

by Leonard Tebegetu


It is humbling to be a part of the 2015  South Pacific Games through Makoda Productions, the company responsible for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games which are to be staged here in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. This event will see the inclusion of countries right around the South Pacific Region and will be televised internationally. The opening and closing ceremonies will one of the highlights and I am glad to be working with a team of international and local artists and specialists in designing and building props for the ceremonies using bamboo and cane. I will be able update this website with images of the work after the completion of the ceremonies. 

The task at hand is challenging and interesting and has enabled me to rediscover the forms of some of traditional structures and objects which previously I paid little attention to. It is wonderful experience.

I will however be able to update the site with pictures of another concept that is unfolding and I hope to do this over the course of this week.


The Vibes are better.

by Leonard Tebegetu


After pushing on relentlessly to try and complete the two pieces, I finally hit a brick wall. I knew I had to take some time out or nothing was going to work. I decided to spend 17th hiking the Presidio park down to the beach. This was very relieving. The freedom and the spacious outdoors and simply taking time away from the work proved healthy. The next day, the 18th, I spent the first part of the day again in the Presidio Park with another artist friend checking out Andy Goldsworthy's pieces. I felt rejuvenated and returned to the studio with much determination to see some progress in Hala. Below are pictures of where the work is at now.

 


Alcatraz Again; @Live

by Leonard Tebegetu


I have always wished to see an Ai Weiwei exhibition thus when I got invited by Christina Hellmich to join herself, Mathew and Hillary for a pre-planned visit to @Live on Alcatraz I knew I could tick that box eventually. I had been to Alcatraz previously and this was going to be my second time thus in a way it was good. I was not going to be too overwhelmed as when I first set foot there but and I was going to see art work that not only existed in this historic and world renowned site but commented on the idea of pshycological 


A Connection to the Ocean

by Leonard Tebegetu


It was good to spend some time next to the ocean. My weekend down by the beach was a perfect time to reflect and focus on the residency. Although far from home, the ocean made me feel closer and connected. The Ocean Park motel provided the perfect getaway for that weekend.



International treaty day; Alcatraz

by Leonard Tebegetu


We bring heartfelt greetings to the first peoples of this land. We greet your people from our people. We greet your mountains from our mountains. We greet your oceans from the oceans that bind us to you. We give thanks for our lives, our ancestors, all that they went through so that we can stand here today.”

The above words words by Nathalie Robertson, the New Zealand photographer whom I had met a few days earlier brought me back to reality. We were on Alcatraz island to celebrate the Annual Indigenous Peoples Day Sunrise Gathering. Prior to Nathalie and Huhana Smiths presentation, Sekio Fuapopo (my community partner here in SF for the duration of this residency) had said a prayer in his Samoan language whilst I sang a traditional chant in accompaniment. My eyes were glued to the clouds as I chanted. I could hear their voices rise and fall along with my every breath. I could see them looking back at me, smiling down like the morning sun. raising their voices and heralding me on, acknowledging my own ancestral lineage and the celebration that had begun to unfold. I knew my ancestors were with me. I knew this was an experience I would relive for a long time to come. A Hawaian chant by sisters Fuifuilupe and Loa Niumeitolu together with Paul Keoloha Blake and Harrison Seuga further echoed through Alcatraz after Nathalie and Huhana's. This brought an end to our collective gifts in support of the days celebrations. Along side us were Nicholasi Niumeitolu  and Jean Melesaine, a talented young photographer whose work I have come to very much become fond of.  Some of Jean's work can be seen on her blog

Image Courtesy of Jean Melesaine 2014.


As has been the case in all my encounters here, I ask myself what I take away from these experiences. Firstly, the experience in itself was overwhelming. One could feel the spiritual connection in that ceremony, that sense of belonging in one way or another. Secondly, I am an indigenous Papua New Guinean but have never given that, much thought. Being there made me realize the need to uphold and strengthen my peoples traditional values and practices as a means of identity. I guess more importantly the realisation that this can be achieved through my being an artist and by working creatively with the materials and ideas that are indigenous not only to the world but also to my people.

Image Courtesy of Jean Melesaine 2014.

Image Courtesy of Jean Melesaine 2014.

Loa, Nicholasi and Fuifuilupe Niumeitolu. Image Courtesy of Jean Melesaine 2014.

Loa, Nicholasi and Fuifuilupe Niumeitolu. Image Courtesy of Jean Melesaine 2014.

Doing the prayer and chant.  Image Courtesy of Alison Ehara-Brown 2014.  

Doing the prayer and chant.  Image Courtesy of Alison Ehara-Brown 2014.  

Nathalie Robertson with the mic and Huhana Smith crossing over behind her. Image Courtesy of Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie 2014.

Nathalie Robertson with the mic and Huhana Smith crossing over behind her. Image Courtesy of Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie 2014.



Building an Earthship

by Global Fellows


An "Earthship" is a self sustainable building built out of recyclable materials. It utilizes solar, wind and and thermal energy for heating and cooling itself and for its electrical needs. So why am I telling you about this off the grid dwelling? How is all that related to my art?

Our crib at Earthship.

Our crib at Earthship.

The answer to the first question is simple. I am here in Taos, New Mexico right now learning how to build an Earthship. Right now, I am being drawn to this idea of creating interactive spaces, spaces that allow people to give as well as take, from each other as well as from that space. Whats more defining of these spaces (that at the moment exist only in my head) is their temporarinesss. Their ability to exist in the minds of people long after they have been taken down or uninstalled. Using materials that are accessible locally and are at the same time inexpensive to create these spaces is yet another goal in acheiving the creation of such a space. Tyres, bottles, PET plastic bottles and drink cans are in abundance as trash in PNG. The utilisation of these materials in construction, particularly in the construction of Earthships, interrests me. I want to learn how these materials are being utilised. How they exist as building mass and how they exist to create this space, a dwelling space that is somewhat arguably a living cell, breathing, heating, cooling and growing its own food unlike the conventional homes we are all used to living in.

So here am 1, 7000 feet above sea level, still aclimatising and at the same time making use of whats left of the warm weather up here. The landscape is beautiful and the accademy and Earthship community itself is very friendly.The Reo Grande is just 5mins drive down the road and there are many more interesting sites nearby. Attached here are some photos from the first week here.


Sunrise

Sunrise


Arriving at Earthship

by Global Fellows


Leonard Tebegetu began his journey from Papua New Guinea to the United States, starting with four weeks at the Earthship Biotecture Academy in Taos, New Mexico. He shared part of his journey so far, with shots of the stunning scenery and architectural structures...

Here's a piece of where we are at right now. The view and our crib.

The afternoon lighting was perfect. I am losing myself in all this at the moment; the scenery, tyre as a mass for use in construction and actually living in an earthship. Hopefully I can find time to do some quick sketches tomorrow. Today was full on. 


Without Fresh Eyes

by Global Fellows


There is really no excuse for not having continued to blog after returning to Papua New Guinea from New Zealand thus I will not attempt to make any. I will however try to dissect this issue, for my own benefits really and to give meaning to this overwhelming lack of enthusiasm to take to the streets with sketch pad and medium to find beauty amidst the all the chaos.

Simmering beneath my skin is a lack of enthusiasm towards capturing all the struggle that exists on the street. So much so that it bothers me to the point of wanting to help rather than documenting or commenting on it all through my art.

My time with The Roots in Auckland has impacted my perspective of the role of myself as an artist in a country like Papua New Guinea thus I find myself at the crossroads. New found ideologies push me toward using creativity for the greater good of my people. My love for oils and my canvas' keep my dream of one day attending the Florence Art Academy in Italy alive. I have an artist residency to prepare for and somewhere in between squeeze in 7 weeks of learning to work with biotecture. But if when reading this blog entry you have doubted the life of this blog after today be rest assured that for as long as the the pulse of the street is beating, this hands will keep on dancing, waltzing with the mediums to find beauty amidst the chaos, truth beyond the life of the simple man who is really the heart that beats that street.

Here's to beauty and beyond!

SAM_3156

- Leonard Tebegetu. Read more of the artist's blog.