CIRCUIT Artist Cinema Commissions 2020: Sovereign Pacific / Pacific Sovereigns

The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora

Commissioned by CIRCUIT Artist Film and Video Aotearoa New Zealand with the support of Creative New Zealand.

Sovereign Pacific / Pacific Sovereigns features five new works for cinema by Rangituhia Hollis, Ana Iti, Alex Monteith, Sione Monu and Gary-Ross Pastrana.
Commissioned by CIRCUIT and curated by Singapore-based academic and curator David Teh, each artist was given two concepts as prompts from which to create a new work.

The first idea, Pacific Concretism, seeks to explore 'errant modernisms' - artworks at junctions between traditional forms of visual art and other forms such as experimental literature, theatre and poetry. A second idea, Sovereignty, asks; what would a Sovereign Pacific artwork look like outside of traditional Western ideas of influence and form?

The resulting five works were completed amidst the complexities of Covid 19, but also engage with the scale of history that extends before colonisation, and sometimes into the realm of science fiction.

Rangituhia Hollis’ work is a kaleidoscopic animation that begins with the voice of a lone driver observing the passage of the moon in the night sky. Ana Iti reworks two 19th century editions of the Māori language newspaper Te Pīpīwharauroa to build an experimental narrative which explores ideas around language and understanding. Alex Monteith has responded to the brief with an ambitious essay film set between Moana-nui-a-Kiwa and the Atlantic. Sione Monu’s video presents a subtly different everyday world, imagined as if Tonga had never encountered influence from the West. The fifth artist in the programme, Gary-Ross Pastrana, is a Filipino artist whose work follows the destruction of a piano, wrought by termites.

Singapore-based curator David Teh first visited Aotearoa in 2018 where he was researching Aotearoa artists for possible inclusion in international projects. He has been working remotely with CIRCUIT since 2019. He has also curated the accompanying Symposium, which expands upon the ideas raised in the Commission programme with a range of artist and academic speakers.

Commissioned annually by CIRCUIT since 2015, the Artist Cinema Commissions ask contemporary artists who normally work in the gallery to make a work for cinema. The resulting works have toured to London Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival and art galleries across Aotearoa, opening up new audiences for local artists.


The 2020 Artist Cinema Commissions were premiered s part of AURA Festival of Artist Moving Images, which included the associated symposium Sovereign Pacific / Pacific Sovereigns.

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Privacy Statement: The Christchurch Arts Audience Development Trust will ensure that all data gathered on this website will be used in accordance with the New Zealand Privacy Act and as such all data will be kept secure and only used for the purpose for which it was gathered. From time to time we may contact you about offers and competitions and to invite your feedback.