New exhibitions – Auckland and Wellington

Lema Shamamba, Mulame, 2019. Image: Samuel Hartnett. Images supplied.

Lema Shamamba, Mulame, 2019. Image: Samuel Hartnett. Images supplied.

Just opened this weekend (19 October), textile exhibitions at two of the country’s most recognised centres of craft/object art. At Objectspace in Auckland, Mulame is the first solo exhibition by Lema Shamamba, a community leader, educator, mother and storyteller who arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand in 2009 as a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Mulame’s work originated as stories first drawn to overcome language barriers, then further translated into embroidered narratives, equally personal and political. (Keep an eye out for a review of Malame in the next issue of Context.)

Lema Shamamba, Mulame, 2019. Image: Samuel Hartnett. Images supplied.

Lema Shamamba, Mulame, 2019. Image: Samuel Hartnett. Images supplied.

Mulame: Lema Shamamba, Objectspace 19 Oct-24 Nov 2019

Credit: Zena Abbott, Fibre Fall No. 1, date unknown. Collection of The Dowse Art Museum, gifted by the Abbott Family 2018. Image supplied.

Credit: Zena Abbott, Fibre Fall No. 1, date unknown. Collection of The Dowse Art Museum, gifted by the Abbott Family 2018. Image supplied.

At the other end of the island, the Dowse has just opened Nomads, featuring the work of pioneering textile artist Zena Abbott (1922-1993) and the contemporary artist Emma Fitts. Abbott was one of New Zealand’s first professional weavers; in 1987, inspired by a documentary about the Nomad Weavers of Turkey, she developed a collaborative project with the Pakuranga Arts Society Fibre Group, Nomads on the Move. The current exhibition includes Abbott’s original Nomads work and other examples of her work from the Dowse collection, as well as Emma Fitts’s contemporary interpretation.

During the exhibition run, the Dowse has arranged a screening of The Black Tent, a 2019 German documentary about the desert tents of the Yoruk nomads.

Nomads: Zena Abbott & Emma Fitts, The Dowse, Lower Hutt, 19 Oct 2019 – 26 Jan 2020 (The Black Tent, 2 November, 2pm)


Also noted:

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What’s on next…

Now that the symposium is behind us, it’s time to think about the next project. Here’s a few opportunities that may be of interest.

Does a conference in Sweden or Bristol sound like fun for 2020? Check out the call for papers (closing soon) for two Association of Dress Historians conferences next year.

Air miles are not required for a couple of other writing opportunities. New Lit Salon Press is seeking short stories for with a fashion focus for Dress You Up: A Capsule Collection of Fashionable Fiction for the Stylish Reader – works of fiction that directly address the significance of clothes and accessories, with the object at the story’s core. If you have something in that might fit the brief (no pun intended), closing date is 1 December.

Back in Aotearoa, the Handshake Project is looking to support developing craft writers and craft professionals! Deadline is on Nov 22, you must be a NZ citizen with a B.A.

A further symposium footnote on media synchronicity during the weekend. Elizabeth Kozlowski and Surface Design were mentioned during the AGM; on Sunday’s Standing Room Only, Lynn Freeman interviewed Elizabeth’s SD collaborator, Lisa Sinner about her work.




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A Common Thread, Nelson 2019

LOGO A-Common-Thread-redSome people don’t see the point of sitting around talking about dress and textiles for a week, but those that do turn up for the annual CTANZ symposium. This year’s, A Common Thread, was held at Nelson’s Suter Gallery the last weekend of September and they were fabulous hosts, with a fabulous programme.

The symposium’s keynote speaker, activist Yasmeen Maria Jones-Chollet, explained the Enslaved by Demand protests she’s staged for the past two years to draw attention to the human and environmental costs of the clothing industry, mass-producing bags and earrings in sweat shop conditions. It was the first of many presentations that addressed issues of justice, current and historical, and a full-throttle start to a full day.

Over the next three days, we heard from producers, artists, curators and researchers about their work making cloth, stories of learning and technology, local national, and international history, the threads of communities. Recidivists caught up with each other’s latest projects; it was also a delight to welcome newcomers both as attendees and presenters and hope we’ve enticed them to join and return. Over 20 presentations, nearly 30 presenters, and moments that moved us to laughter and reflection. Thank you all for sharing your knowledge and experiences.

Between sessions, we had time to explore Nelson, and the Suter’s serendipitously fabric-related exhibitions, a dinner overlooking Nelson’s harbour, scenic bus routes to local textile attractions.

Profuse thanks to the Suter for their warmth and hospitality, and to the generous sponsors who indulged us with various treats. The most profuse thanks however to Paula Haines-Bellamy and the rest of the organising team: Andrea Barnard, Karen Richards, Pam Saunders, Jo Kinross and Moya Montgomery, for a job so well done.

The symposium also means an AGM, and this year saw the election of a new committee, which for the next term will be led by Stella Lange and Natalie Smith as co-presidents and based in Dunedin. Bronwyn Simes will be taking over as treasurer/membership secretary and Moira White as secretary. As immediate past president, Vicki Mossong remains on the committee, as do Jennifer Matheson and Jane Groufsky in Auckland, and Karin Warnaar in Dunedin.

We formally acknowledge the contribution over many years of Kim Smith, outgoing vice-president, treasurer and membership secretary, Angela Lassig, secretary and former president, and of course Vicki. The new committee will take over at the start of the CTANZ year on 1 January. The Auckland team will then turn their attention to organising the 2020 symposium, details of which will be announced shortly. We get to unpack (literally and figuratively) from the Nelson weekend first.


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Indian textiles lecture series at Te Papa 26-29 September

During the 2019 World of Wearable Art season the Friends of Te Papa is hosting three illustrated lectures by Shani Pillai and Joji Jacob on traditional Indian textiles, their history, their connections and their future. Set over 3 one hour sessions Shani and Joji will explore Indigo dye, ikat weaving and the revitalisation of hand-looms in modern fashion houses.

Sari to Sarong_v4

Colour me Indigo – Thursday 26 September 5pm (Te Marae)

Indigo is an ancient dye that attracted the name ‘Blue Gold’ for its strong performance as a high-value trading commodity in ancient times as it was considered a luxury item. It has been used in many civilisations and was popular in Mayan, Egyptian, Japanese, African and Indian cultures. It still is a star performer in today’s fashion in the form of Shibori, tie-dye fabrics and of course the much-loved denim. There is more to indigo than its dreamy blues. Join us on this multi-media journey to uncover the world of indigo and enjoy some fun and entertaining facts that will make you see indigo in a totally different shade.  Also, enjoy viewing the display of all things Indigo!

Sari to Sarong – Saturday 28 September 2pm (Rangimarie)

What is the common thread that ties India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia? It is the ‘Ikat’ weave. The word ‘Ikat’ means ‘tie’ in both Indonesian and Malaysian languages and refers to the tie and dye weaving technique which has been used for centuries to create beautiful artisanal Ikat handlooms.

This multi-media presentation will take you on a journey from the Ikat saree weaving Indian sub-continent to the sarong or panel ikat weaving traditions of the South East Asian countries and show how they are historically linked since ancient times. You will get to appreciate the different types of ikat that are unique to these countries, the stories they tell and their significance in these cultures. There will be examples of ikat weaves from Thailand, Cambodia, India and Indonesia on display so you can touch and feel them.

Indian Fashion: Old is New – Sunday 29 September 2pm (Rangimarie)

Let us take you on a colourful and breathtaking virtual trip to India to see how Indian fashion (clothes, jewellery and accessories) has evolved over the years and the impact it has on the international fashion houses to this day. More and more Indian designers are embracing the traditional handloom weaves, tie and dye, block printing, embroidery, metal work and other embellishing techniques to create fashion that not only honours the rich heritage but also delivers to the modern senses and palate. In India, while traditional wear is still valued, there is now a growing trend of fusion that is taking the old and giving it an exciting modern twist. This multi-media presentation will visually present gorgeous, stylish Indian fusion wearables that will knock your socks off.

Growing trend of fusion_v4

Shani Pillai is of South Indian heritage and has textiles weaving in her DNA from her father’s side of the family. Her mother tongue is Tamil, she also speaks fluent English, Bahasa Malaysia and understands Cantonese.  Joji Jacob’s origins are in Kerala. He speaks fluent English, Hindi and Malayalam (his mother tongue), understands several Indian languages, and has experienced the cultures of several regions of India due to his father’s varied postings in the Indian Army. Their boutique tour business is fast gaining international recognition, with Chanel Fashion House being their latest client.

They are passionate about their cultural heritage and the traditions and arts passed down through the generations. This was distilled when they learnt of Benarasi brocade weavers committing suicide due to cheap Chinese imports robbing them of their traditional livelihood, it was the catalyst that made them decide to support these communities of artisans. This passion has propelled them to off the beaten track villages in different parts of India, through their Threads of Tradition textiles tours, en route meeting and seeing master textile artisans at work. They support selected community development groups that are helping and inspiring communities to develop and maintain their traditional livelihoods.

To book tickets visit The Friends of Te Papa event page. Tickets include refreshments and free parking at Te Papa.


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Symposium, Nelson’s now just a week away

Suter event banner@2x-8A few last minute notes from the Nelson symposium team.

Presenter Deb Donnelly will be exhibiting some of her work at the gallery over the weekend. The kasuri indigo hand loomed  Moving Continents textiles provide a visual bridge for the life of 1950s Japanese immigration to NZ.

Meanwhile, two early registrants for Symposium 2019, Linda Warner and Grace Lai won  the $25.00 Broomfields Vouchers, with thanks to Andrea Dell of Broomfields for her generosity.

The field trips are  full but there are dinner tickets still available.

Thank you to all Nelson registrants for their commitment. It’s going to be a stimulating and enjoyable weekend; we look forward to seeing everyone at the Suter on Friday week.

For more details

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CALL FOR PAPERS Millennial Masculinities Massey University, 10-11 December 2019


Millennial Masculinities: Queers, Pimp Daddies and Lumbersexuals

Massey University, Wellington New Zealand  December 10-11 2019

Keynote Speakers
Christopher Breward, National Galleries of Scotland
Pamela Church Gibson, London College of Fashion, University of the Arts
Shaun Cole, Winchester School of Art, University of Southhampton
Andrew Reilly, University of Hawaii

Convenor Vicki Karaminas, Massey University, New Zealand  Adam Geczy, The University of Sydney

In the age under the shadow of accused sexual predator Harvey Weinstein, Vladimir Putin’s hypermasculinity and conservative politician Donald Trump, the question of masculine identity looms as exigently as ever. While it is proper to identity construction of all kinds to question and deliberate upon what is constituted as desirable, it is now the sheer multiplicity of masculine identities, coupled with the reassertion of some of the less desirable, that makes this area of inquiry so rich, and so necessary.

Looking at the present inevitably involves combing the past: stylish types appeared in the West during the 19th century, such as the dandy or the restless bohemian, or postwar masculinities such as the beatnik hipster, the rebel, the hippie, or the playboy. The social and political upheavals of the 1960s (which includes Stonewall Riots in 1969) and beyond precipitated the socalled “crisis in masculinity” in which recourse to the age-old models of bold, straight, breadwinner was no longer the default model of what men ought to be. Gay and lesbian liberation, civil rights and the women’s movement placed normative masculinities on shaky ground. A confluence of a number of factors that had destabilised traditional, white middle-class, masculinity and gave rise to the men’s movement which contained branches that were masculine and pro-feminist. The emergence of the ‘New Man’ which was aided by the rise the retail sector and the style press, targeted affluent young male consumers and produced new kinds of images of men and their bodies in many cases reflective of by gay pornography. By the 90s, this mediated ‘New Man’ had virtually disappeared and was replaced by the loutish New Lad. Labels come and go, and the beginning of the new millennium heralded the metrosexual, a consumer of luxury goods and cosmetics commensurate with any woman. In the new millennium, the effects of climate change and global warming, along with the sustainability and slow food movement, has produced new mediated masculinities, the repackaged urban hipster and his modern huntsman brother, the lumbersexual who has retreated back to nature. Masculinities are temporarily and spatially contingent and are embedded in culture, language and representation.

Yet the history of men’s fashion has tended to be the history of men’s fashion in the West. A history that prioritises European, rather than indigenous or non-western dress practices. Little attention has also been paid to the ways in which dress and appearance construct masculinities and connections with traditions in settler or colonised societies. This can be said of the Congo’s Sapeurs and the Death Metal Cowboys of Botswana where the dialectics between colonised/coloniser are complicated.

Millennial Masculinities is a two day interdisciplinary conference that explores the expression of masculinities through constructions of fashion, identity, style and appearance across the Arts and Humanities. Its areas of inquiry include cultural and gender theory, art history, fashion studies, film studies, literature, philosophy and sociology amongst others.

There will be the opportunity for papers to be published in a special issue of Critical Studies in Men’s Fashion, as well as the journals Film, Fashion and Consumption and the Journal of Asia Pacific Pop Culture (AJPC).

Suggested topics include:
• Masculinities and cinema • Representations of masculinity • Masculinities and consumption • Subcultural style • Advertising men • Queer film
• Men in uniforms • Fashion film • Celebrity men  • Indigenous male identities • Fashion editorial • Fetish men • Hyper masculinities • Reigning men in royalty • Postcolonial masculinities • Men in history • Queer masculinities • Minority/subaltern masculinities • Drag kings/performativities of masculinities • Technologies and masculinities • Globalization and masculinities • Contested masculinities

Submission Guidelines:

E-mail a 150-word abstract with title and a list of keywords, your name and contact details, institution/department, and a brief 3-5 sentence bio in one word doc.

Send paper abstracts with subject title Millennial Masculinities to Professor Vicki Karaminas

Important Dates: Deadline for Submission of proposals: October 15, 2019 Notification of Acceptance: 1 November, 2019

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Still more exhibitions…

Georgina May Young - cotton embroidery on vintage Zweigart Kingston Linen

Georgina May Young – cotton embroidery on vintage Zweigart Kingston Linen

This is getting ridiculous. Over the past two months, this blog has highlighted almost a dozen exhibitions around the country featuring some dress or textile interest, and there’s almost as many on the list to note between now and the end of October. Here’s the first few, either closing or opening this week.

One that almost got away is Labour of Body at the Corban Estate Arts Centre in Henderson, which finishes on 15 September. More images at the Arts Diary link below include Arielle Walker’s foraged natural dyes on vintage wool blanket, and Kathryn Tsui and Doris Tsui’s cross stitch work, as well as Georgina May Young’s embroidery above. The arc of the exhibition is the different narratives of these artists who work in textiles, from the traditions of embroidery and weaving to fibre installations and masks.

Tivaevae gown, Karen Walker and Kūki ‘Airani Creative Māmās, led by Aitutaki-born Tukua Turia

Tivaevae gown, Karen Walker and Kūki ‘Airani Creative Māmās, led by Aitutaki-born Tukua Turia

Meanwhile, just opening (at last) is the new New Zealand Fashion Museum exhibition, Moana Currents: Dressing Aotearoa Now, at Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, Titirangi, Auckland. The museum’s call for funding for its new blue mannequins took only a few days to reach its target, and they’re ready for their debut. It will be fabulous, as always. Congratulations, Doris and team, we look forward to the publication, and to next year, when NZFM celebrates its 10th anniversary.

And in Dunedin, opening on 9 September is the latest in a series of annual collaborations between University of Otago scientists and Otago Polytechnic and local artists. Art and Water: Mountains to the Sea presents artworks inspired by the scientific research, and this year includes several textile works: weaving by Christine Keller and Pam McKinlay, Vivien Dwyer’s tapestry, Stella Lange’s knitting, Georgina Young’s embroidery, and Heramahina Eketone’s raranga. The exhibition runs from 9-21 September at the Otago Museum HD Skinner Annex If you aren’t going to be in Dunedin, but think it sounds interesting, the polytech information page also includes a link to an online catalogue.

Coming soon – more in Dunedin, Wellington and Auckland. If you know of others, Contact us. If you’d like to review something you’ve seen for Context, likewise.




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It’s symposium month – Nelson beckons

LOGO A-Common-Thread-redIt’s September, and that means it’s only a few weeks now until CTANZ members and other textile / costume aficionados converge in Nelson for A Common Thread, the 2019 symposium. It looks like a terrific programme, featuring the important universal issues – sustainability, the threads shared across communities and across history, examinations of threads themselves, among many interpretations of the theme.

The organisers have also included opportunities for us to explore textiles currently being exhibited at the Suter, and elsewhere, plus free time and options of field trips. It’s going to be a great weekend: if you haven’t already, today’s a great day to register.

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Auckland to Ashburton, via Nelson and Wellington

There are textile/ costume events and exhibitions up the wazoo over the next two months. Most important of these is the CTANZ symposium in Nelson 27-29 September. Register before 1 September and you could win a $25 gift voucher from lovely Nelson craft supplies shop, Broomfields & Co. But register, because the programme’s terrific.

Kicking off on 26 August is this year’s NZ Fashion Week, which includes the usual industry events, the usual more open fashion weekend, and a great programme in partnership with Auckland’s Central City Library, with a focus on sustainable fashion.

Hands-on and hand-made sewing workshops encouraging renewable fashion, fashionable talks, clothes swaps, 3D and block printing and upcycled miniature fashion for toys are on offer from 26 August to 1 September to help champion a sustainable approach to self-expression.

Masterworks buttons 2019

Also just opened in Auckland, though on for a month, is Masterworks Gallery’s biennial “Button’ exhibition, showing just over 20 artists  using a variety of materials from textiles, embroidery, metals, stone, wood, paper, ceramic and stone. If this seems familiar, it’s because the Gallery had such a hit when they invited button art in 2017 that they decided to make it regular.

While Auckland’s doing fashion week, Wellington’s doing food, with Wellington on a Plate. But it’s not without textile innovation, with Australian artist Chili Philly in town to combine cooking and hooking with No Way Crochet at Te Auaha, NZ Institute of Creativity. As interviewed on Nine to Noon, with a lot of giggling, because everyone needs a giant crochet lemon meringue pie in their head.

Another biennial exhibition opening on 25 August is a bit further afield: the Ashburton Embroiderers’ Guild’s Gathering of Threads at the Ashburton Art Gallery.  The Ashburton guild, one of 58! guilds affiliated in NZ, began 47 years ago and became a guild in 1978.




Posted in Artists, Auckland, Embroidery, Fashion, Fashion week, Lectures & Talks, Libraries, Local events, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

An August fabricolage

imagesThis weekend Aucklanders have the temptation of the Vintage Textile Fair‘s all-genuine-vintage clothes, furs, handbags, linen, shoes, jewellery, lace, buttons, patterns, books, fabric, etc etc. The ultimate in recycling, at Alexandra Park Raceway, Sunday 25 August, 10am-4pm, $10 entry.

There’s also an Original Vintage + Retro Fashion Pop-Up Shop in Dunedin Friday 6  and Saturday 7 September, at St Peter’s Anglican Church Hall, Hillside Road, 11.30am-6pm and 10am-4.30pm respectively. Cash only, bring your own bags.

The NZ Fashion Museum‘s already had a great response to a Boosted call for donations so the Moana Currents exhibition will have shiny new mannequins. Because the existing set are are “way too fashion store window”, the NZFM team is commissioning 16 “new people”, of varying shapes and sizes, in a new-people blue, and adorned with Pacific tattoo art to complement the modern Pacific fashion of the exhibition, which opens in September at Te Uru.

If you’re looking for ways to support New Zealand’s cultural sector, Creative New Zealand would like your input into into its plan for supporting sustainable careers in the arts. Arts practitioners and advocates are invited to offer feedback on principles that could contribute to a culture sector that will nurture its talent to survive and thrive.

A bit further afield, but if Victoria’s on your agenda between now and the end of the year, Bendigo Art Gallery maintains its admirable record of fabulous textile and dress exhibitions with two just opened. Desert Lines: Batik from Central Australia brings together around 60 selected works from the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, while Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion, exclusive to Bendigo Art Gallery in Australia, showcases more than 100 garments and hats from the master’s heyday. Both run 17 August – November.

Posted in Auckland, Australia, Careers, Craft, Dunedin, Exhibitions, fairs, Local events, New Zealand Fashion Museum, Shopping, Textiles, vintage | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment