The focus of the new exhibition Make Me, at the Tauranga Art Gallery’s Cube space from August 8, is to highlight issues around Pacific identity and how that fits within Tauranga's environment and culture.
Artist Darcell Apelu's work explores perceptions of the Pacific body through identification, specifically that of ‘being other’ within the social climate of New Zealand and the Pacific.
She is a mixed medium artist of New Zealand, European, and Niuean decent, raised in Mount Maunganui. Her father is of Niuean decent and her mother is Pakeha.
Darcell's work contests the position of constantly being ‘other’.
It explores her journey that has been shaped since being exposed to Pacific culture in Auckland and how she now views the space that she has come to occupy in Tauranga.
She exhibits frequently while also currently teaching within the certificate of art and design and the Bachelor of Creative Industries at the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic.
Her art practice involves mediums such as moving image, sound, performance and installation.
Her practice is informed by her experiences as an Afakasi female.
She has three performances planned, and a panel discussion planned around this exhibition, starting with a 20-minute performance named Lift on opening night, August 7.
A screening of the film Polynesian Panther is also part of the plans but this is yet to be confirmed.
About the title for the exhibition. She says: "I rely on others to essentially make me in their own eyes – who am I? What do I represent? Who do I represent in my community? What categories do I fit into?”