Her work is provocative, beautiful and playful.- Helen Kedgley, Director - Pataka Art + Museum
Created in direct response to the immediate Aotea Square environs, Fale Ula is a new site-specific installation by Niki Hastings-McFall. Wrapping the trunks of trees with synthetic lei (ula), Hastings-McFall 'polynises' the green space of Aotea Square into a vibrant, living artwork - a site of contemplation, relaxation, gathering and sharing in the form of an open-air fale.
Samoan oral history speaks of this architectural form as having been gifted from the heavens and transported to earth, containing such treasures as the sega bird and the ava bowl. Using the trees as the pou (supports) and the sky as the roof, Hastings-McFall creates a metaphorical fale space which directly references these celestial origins.
Breaking new ground for this renowned local artist, a collaborative project between the artist and digital collective HUBBUB sees the incorporation of audience-responsive sound element Project Nest. Encountering elusive native birdsong amongst the trees of the installation, visitors are invited to contemplate the absence of these birds from the heart of our city and the nature of our relationship with both the natural world and the urban environment.
Complementing Fale Ula is a new installation work in the rear window wall of Q Theatre. Suspended, spinning and shimmering, Heavens Above uses a star motif commonly found in Samoan siapo design. As celestial sky-borne entities, stars and birds often contain a parallel symbolism and fulfill similar functions within Polynesian oral culture. Along with many other natural elements, both were commonly used to navigate the Pacific for centuries. Hastings-McFall draws on this parallel symbolism to connect this work to Fale Ula.
Commissioned and presented by Auckland Arts Festival with the support of Q Theatre.
Photograph: Michael Pöhlmann. Niki Hastings-McFall installation for Wunderruma, Galerie Handwerk, Munich 2014.
Sun 15 March, 3pm, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki Auditorium: Hear Niki Hastings-McFall and Lisa Reihana talk about their Festival-commissioned works.
Every Saturday and Sunday 10.30am - 12.30pm during the Festival join us for Lei Play, a creative activity for all ages inspired by Niki Hasting-McFall's 'Polynisation' artworks.