Tribute: Jim Vivieaere
Te akaroa ite metua tane – We are sad to lose a great warrior
Creative New Zealand mourns the loss of New Zealand curator and artist Jim Vivieaere (1947 – 2011) – a mentor, friend and role model to artists who found inspiration in his work and curatorial practice.
Born in Waipawa New Zealand in 1947, of Cook Island Maori heritage, Vivieaere exhibited widely and travelled extensively. He made significant contributions to the arts in New Zealand as a curator, artist and mentor. A frequent theme of Vivieaere’s work was how Pacific peoples and cultures are represented within institutions.
He created artwork for more than 20 years in museum spaces and galleries in New Zealand and overseas. A past recipient of the Moet & Chandon artist-in-residence, France (1993) he was also funded to create art in situ at the Uberseemuseum, Germany. He also participated in the 4th Noumea Biennial of Contemporary Arts and was guest curator for the Texas Art Gallery, Houston in the making of a CD-rom of New Zealand artists.
One of Vivieaere’s most significant contributions to New Zealand art was Bottled Ocean (1994), the first survey exhibition of contemporary Pacific Island art in the country. Bottled Ocean featured many now iconic Pacific artists including Fatu Feu’u, Johnny Penisula, John Pule, Lily Laita, John Ioane, Niki Hastings-McFall, Albert Refiti, Filipe Tohi, Michel Tuffery, Ani O’Neill, Loretta Young, Patrick Futialo (aka hip hop artist Tha Feelstyle Orator). The exhibition opened at the City Art Gallery in Wellington, and then at Auckland, Waikato, Christchurch and Manawatu.
Vivieaere wrote in the 1994 catalogue of Bottled Ocean, “with exhibitions of this sort, one wonders how Pacific cultural origins and traditions can be made a source of creative possibilities rather than constraints. Some works refer to the past, or express themes of transition and current entrapments. The artists are exploring their uneasiness with their blurred identity. Conflict exists between their assumed heritage and their urban experience”.
Vivieaere was awarded the Creative New Zealand Samoa Artist in Residence (2008) and Senior Artist Award (2006) for the Arts Pasifika Awards.
"Jim Vivieaere has been a pivotal figure in New Zealand’s visual arts community and instrumental in raising the profile and recognition Pacific Island artists in New Zealand and elsewhere. He will be greatly missed,” says Creative New Zealand chief executive Stephen Wainwright.
Jim Vivieaere leaves his daughters Fran Vivieaere Bates, Cypress Vivieaere, Bianca Tolmie; grandchildren Tamaroa McCarthy and Zac, Milo and Layla Bates.
In accordance with his wishes, his tangi will be held at Fale Pasifika, Auckland University on Sunday 12th June, 2011 at 10.30am.