Young artists learn from the best

Monday 27 February 2012, 2:36PM
By AUT University - Manukau campus


Renowned artists pass on their knowledge at AUT University’s Manukau campus

Local artists are working alongside celebrated Maori and Pacific artists at AUT University's Manukau campus this week.

Celebrated master carvers Filipe Tohi (Tongan), Darryl Thompson (Tangata Whenua) and Johnny Peninsula (Samoan), are leading a group of local emerging artists in a stone carving project, which is on public display at the university.

The master carvers are on site carving ‘anchor stones’, as part of a rock sculpture series that the University has sponsored for several years in conjunction with the Pasifika Festival.

“Our role is to facilitate the young artists and help them get to grips with this art form,” says master carver Darryl Thompson. “Working with stone is a real achievement – creating a legacy from the stone, something that can last thousands of years, is an experience that we can pass on to these emerging artists.”

Emerging artists from across Auckland were invited to take place in the carving project. Allen Vili, an emerging artist who was raised in Mangere, says “Working with this line up of master carvers is a hugely humbling experience. It’s a real honour to be here, working alongside them.”

Chris Ryan, a sculptor and painter from Mt Roskill, says the opportunity to work with Tohi, Peninsula and Thompson is “A dream come true. These guys are heroes in the art world. When this opportunity came up to work with them – well, it’s so important to me to learn from them – the way they think, and connect with their culture as artists but also as people.”

Johnny Peninsula says the rock project is about “Trying to help the young ones. We can show them how to make a living out of their work; what to watch out for. My son is an artist and when he was starting out he found it so hard. He asked me how you can survive as an artist, and I said it’s in your heart, son, it’s inside. You’ve got to keep going.”

When complete, the anchor stones will complement a series of four large Oamaru stone sculptures that are on public display in the campus grounds. The public is welcome to view the sculptures and anchor stones, and view the carvers while they work. The carvers will be on site from 9am-3pm each day from Monday 27th February-Friday 2 March at the AUT Manukau campus grounds on 640 Great South Road, Manukau.