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Three take up residence at The Arts Centre

08 May 2023
Te Matatiki Toi Ora The Arts Centre is providing three artists with time to develop creatively. They are musician Lisa Tui Jonathan, and visual artists Megan Brady and Hōhua Ropate Kurene. The trio will live and work at The Arts Centre for three months (June till August) via the centre’s Creative Residency programme.

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Te Matatiki Toi Ora The Arts Centre
May 9, 2023

Te Matatiki Toi Ora The Arts Centre is providing three artists with time to develop creatively this winter.

They are musician Lisa Tui Jonathan, and visual artists Megan Brady and Hōhua Ropate Kurene. The trio will live and work at Te Matatiki Toi Ora for three months (June, July, August) via the centre’s Creative Residency programme.

Time and space are precious currency for creative practitioners, says Chris Archer, Creative Director at Te Matatiki Toi Ora. “It’s rare for artists to be able to devote themselves full-time to their craft – most juggle many commitments and do other work to pay the bills. We enable our residents to take time to reflect, to immerse themselves in life here, and to connect with the arts scene in the wider city.” The Arts Centre, in turn, expects creative residents to engage with the public, such as through wānanga, workshops, live performance, exhibitions, or talks.

Although each artist submits a proposal when applying for the residency, they are welcome to experiment and deviate from their original ideas. All three plan to strengthen their networks with other creative people in Ōtautahi Christchurch.

Lisa Tui says she’s feeling nostalgic (as well as proud and grateful) as she looks forward to the residency: “The Arts Centre has been a huge part of my life as a vocalist: busking on the mound beside the Dux de Lux; selling fudge in costume at the cottage; singing with Malcom McNeil at the romance festivals.” For her, the residency provides “time to focus my ears and body to play and explore taonga pūoro,” as well as exploring the connection between sound and wellbeing.

Despite Hōhua Kurene’s Christchurch roots, he is new to The Arts Centre: “it was a rebuild project when I was in high school.” Having recently returned from Te Ika-a-Māui (the North Island) and Upolu, Samoa, he is approaching the residency with an open mind, looking first to build meaningful connections with other creative people – his art projects often grow from there.

Dunedin-based Megan Brady wants to research her ancestral awa, Rakahuri/Ashley River. The residency is making site-specific work possible: “undertaking this next body of research about Rakahuri awa could only happen where Rakahuri awa flows.” She describes getting the residency as “like the world’s biggest hug.”

The Creative Residence is upstairs in the West Lecture building. Completed in 1917, the building originally held two lecture theatres. After the Canterbury Earthquakes, the building was restored and strengthened, and the residence was installed. The residence comprises four ensuite bedrooms with modern, shared living, dining and kitchen facilities, and rooftop views. Sometimes artists collaborate as the result of their time together. 

The Arts Centre Creative Residency Programme is supported by the New Zealand Charitable Foundation, proudly managed by Perpetual Guardian.

More about the artists

Megan Brady (Ngāi Tahu/Pākehā) is a multidisciplinary artist working across fields of sculpture, installation, and sound. Sonic and sensory, her projects often follow a rule that responds to dimensions, patterns, navigation, or sites. She draws details together to intimately connect to an environment, inviting others to do the same. Megan holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts (First Class Honours) from the Dunedin School of Art (2017), and shortly after exhibited her first solo show 'A quiet corner where we can talk’ (2018) at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Within the creative community of Ōtepoti she has served as a board member of the Blue Oyster Arts Trust and facilitated creative practices at Studio2/Margaret Freeman Gallery (all-inclusive studio for local artists with disabilities). In Ōtautahi, you can currently engage with her two-part, site-specific mural ‘Where light and footsteps fold’ at CoCA in Gloucester Street.

Hōhua Ropate Kurene is of mixed Samoan, Māori & Afro-European heritage. Born in Porirua, Hōhua was raised in his father’s village of Luatuanu’u Samoa and later moved to his mother’s birthplace of Ōtautahi, Aotearoa where he now resides. Hōhua is a queer, indigenous artist specialising in photography, creative writing, and multimedia design. In his work he captures a breadth of tangata whenua/Pasifika experiences, establishing new expressions of beauty, fashion and identity within Aotearoa New Zealand and Western Samoa. Whilst much of his work is firmly rooted in his own heritage and history, Hōhua’s unique perspective has already resonated with a variety of artists – resulting in powerful collaborations both locally and internationally spanning a range of mediums.

Lisa Tui Jonathan (Tainui, Ngāti Wairere, Ngāti Kahungunu) has a background in singing, song writing and musical theatre that spans genres: classical, some jazz, gospel, country, funk, and blues. For Lisa, performance is a quest to share stories and create connection. A committed teacher, she has taught and facilitated singing for 22 years in many different settings: from delivering workshops in prisons (with Arts Access Aotearoa) to working with music theatre and contemporary vocal students at Te Pūkenga Ōtautahi. Her love for taonga pūoro began while studying New Zealand music at the University of Otago. Since then, she has learned first-hand with Mahina Kingi-Kaui in the ensemble Pou Ataata. Lisa has a degree in performing arts (music theatre), a diploma in teaching music in a studio setting, and is a qualified NLP Trainer for Practitioners.