Jermaine Dean | OFFSTAGE 7

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(Image – Tautai 2016)

In 2009 TAUTAI Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust presented OFFSTAGE at Galatos. The show was programmed as part of the 2009 Auckland FRINGE Festival and featured a range of Pacific artists including Lonnie Hutchinson, Shigeyuki Kihara, Janet Lilo, Sheyne Tuffery, Itiri Ngaro and LindaT. They were also joined by a number of emerging artists including Vaimaila Urale, Junior Taumoepeau, Mose Eteuati, Angela Tiatia, Fristar Viliamu and Tanu Gago. OFFSTAGE was originally described as “a night of live and mediated performance works – a mix of the high-brow and the experimental, with a party atmosphere.”

I was late to the opening after getting too lit with some friends before rolling up to the bar just in time to miss the screening of my short documentary film – DRAG DIVAS. I remember submitting the film thinking it probably won’t get accepted because it was so conventional as piece of moving image. But they managed to find a spot for it in the programme. I invited the star of my film, a 6 foot drag queen named Rose Bush. The night was really similar in spirit to some of the random art experiences FAFSWAG has produced over the past couple of years. It was a little bit casual and kind of alternative and hap hazard. At times you didn’t always know what to expect and the bar was really good at alleviating any pressure for artist to feel like they had be precious about their work.

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(Image – Tautai 2016)

It’s now 2016 and TAUTAI’S OFFSTAGE is being delivered in it’s 7th iteration. The showcase as a whole has gone through a number of transformations. The most apparent is the mixing of contemporary Pacific arts Practitioners with emerging Pacific arts practitioners as an opportunity to show works collectively, seems to have shifted. For the 7th version of OFFSTAGE the experience was presented as an exhibition of emerging artist.

OFFSTAGE still remains for the most part an experimental space despite a majority of the works being created specifically for other instances, exhibitions or generally being products of tertiary fine arts learning.

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(Image – Louisa Afoa)

This year OFFSTAGE was curated by Louisa Afoa and hosted as a 2 week exhibition at ART SPACE on Auckland’s K road. FAFSWAG artist Jermaine Dean debuted his moving image work self-titled JERMAINE which was created collaboratively with other artist from the collective. The exhibition still reflects OFFSTAGE as a place for new innovative and experimental works. OFFSTAGE 7 was a place for artist to transmit their works to audiences outside of their typical and tight-nit communities and to have their work shown within and industry context.

Jermaine’s work for offstage see’s a departure from his glossy digital photography practice into moving image through performance.What this work achieves really well is that it creates a window point of entry into an underground world that very few people and artist in Auckland get to experience. Jermaine becomes the protagonist in his own narrative about space and how this is physically and politically occupied through his unique identity.

It has been great to see Jermaine curated into this show as an artist that isn’t on a tertiary pathway within the fines arts and who’s practice is approached from another field entirely. Jermaine’s diverse back ground and experience make it hard to define his practice concretely and in the spirit of what OFFSTAGE has always been a vehicle for, this sounds like a perfect fit.

I hope artist feel empowered to make submissions for future TAUTAI OFFSTAGE exhibitions. This a really great platform and six years of interesting incarnations have proven that.

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