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Benjamin Work is an Auckland-based visual artist of Tongan (Tuanekivale) and Scottish (Shetlands) heritage. Raised in the Eastern suburbs of the greater Auckland area with a solid grounding in aerosol art, his initial creative output centred around sub/pop cultures that emerged from North America. Since then, Benjamin has developed a bold visual language based on kupesi (patterns) as a result of viewing rare Tongan artefacts contained in European museums namely Tongan war clubs which carry an elegant and complex semiotic language. His diverse practice reflects the here and now and situates it in a very contemporary Auckland context.
Brendan Kitto as a teenager in the mid-1990s, expanded from being a skater and graffiti artist to also documenting what he perceived as the important youth culture. His need to document process and happenings, capturing a time and place, became his point of difference in graffiti photography. Kittos urban popular culture and fashion photographs has been published and exhibited in group and solo shows. His respect to the past and moving forward with the future, Brendan embraces medium format, 35mm film and digital photography. In this book, Brendan documents the places of polynesian significance in the Eastern and South Auckland suburbs/ Tamaki Makaurau in the Whenua Fonua Enua exhibition, as well as the working process of Benjamin Work towards his installation at the Uxbridge Malcolm Smith Gallery.
Both the exhibition and the publication explore the area, detailing the idiosyncratic markers of Work and Kittos remembered youth. Through exploring memories of their formative years and looking further into the history that came before them, the artists have captured a contemporary living history intertwined with their suburban stories.
Featured in the 4 March 2018 NZ / Pasifika Newsletter.
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Publication date: 2017
Number of pages: 70
Publisher: Rim Books
Subjects: Non-fiction, Art/design/film, Art & Artists, History Of Art / Art & Design Styles, Music, New Zealand, NZ Art & Artists, Pasifika, Tonga, Published in New Zealand