10 Jun 2022
Creative New Zealand is pleased to announce emerging ngā toi Māori artists Bridy Lundon and Tai Sadler have been awarded funding support to attend the MeyMey'em Indigenous Artists Gathering, at Emily Carr University, Vancouver, Canada, alongside senior Ngā Toi Māori artists and mentors Sir Derek Lardelli and Rangi Skipper.
The newly established ‘Ka Rere: Rangatahi Indigenous Exchange’ Fund, developed under Creative New Zealand’s national Māori arts strategy Te Hā o Ngā Toi Māori, enables emerging artists to experience international opportunities to develop their practice while being mentored by senior arts leaders.
“This is an amazing opportunity for Tai” said mentor, Rangi Skipper.
“It’s a good introduction to seeing a wider scope of the relevance of the arts in other native communities and the global context to the roles that we can play as native communities as we respectively spearhead the placemaking and decolonising work that our applied culture does for us.
Tai will be able to rub shoulders with seasoned practitioners and use that experience as a scaffolding for new thinking for his practise.
And even just stepping outside of NZ is eye opening right? And I’m not talking about the tourist thing, I’m talking about walking with other native peoples on their lands, with their eyes and their songs ringing in our ears.”
“I am super grateful for this opportunity and want to extend my gratitude and appreciation to everyone who has supported me on my art journey," said visual artist Bridy Lundon.
“One main goal for me is to create lifelong friendships and networks. I aim to learn a range of skills and techniques from multiple art forms and share kōrero with different artists.
The support of both Derek Lardelli and Erena Koopu has been a massive impact on my growth and development within Toi Māori at Toihoukura. Having them attend this kaupapa allows me to feel more comfortable and grounded in another country.”
Brenda Crabtree, Director, Aboriginal Programs Emily Carr University describes the gathering as “...an intergenerational gathering of Indigenous artists, educators, cultural leaders, and knowledge keepers whose goal is to connect, collaborate, promote, and perpetuate the transfer of cultural knowledge to current and future generations.
It focuses on art, education, culture and provides an opportunity to understand how the past continues to impact our present, a time to share and honour our strength and resilience.”
And in response to the attendance of rangatahi Māori artists Crabtree said, “it is important that Indigenous youth understand our ancestral collective past, how policies and politics have often regulated our Indigenous identities and privileges, and how resilience has been the Indigenous collective thread that ties us together.”
On this new initiative, Creative New Zealand’s Senior Manager, Māori Strategy and Partnerships, Paula Carr said “following the Ngā Toi Māori Roadshow in 2018, and recent sector engagement, we gave an undertaking to advance international exchange opportunities and grow emerging ngā toi Māori practitioners. This is a pilot to see where and how we can take this intention further.
Thanks to Creative New Zealand's newly appointed Indigenous Exchange Advisor and ngā toi Māori arts practitioner, Tāwera Tahuri (Ngā Ariki Kai Pūtahi, Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Rangi), the opportunity to develop this pilot initiative is possible. We are particularly pleased it recognises the importance of tuakana teina relationships and connections between Māori and our indigenous relations of Canada and America.”
The Meymey’em Gathering was initiated in 2019 to celebrate the completion of a 25-foot totem pole ‘Northern Wolves’ at Emily Carr University carved by recognised indigenous artists Dempsey Bob (Canada), Stan Bevan (Canada) and Lyonel Grant (Māori) and follows on from the Toi Māori Te Ātinga Indigenous Arts Symposium 2020, Turangawaewae Marae, Waikato.