EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea Winstanley, the Oscar nominated producer of Jojo Rabbit and What We Do In The Shadows, has arrived back in her native New Zealand to begin filming on feature documentary Toi Tu Toi Ora – Visual Sovereignty.
The pic will follow the final year of preparation for the first international showing of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki’s forthcoming exhibition, Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art; the most comprehensive survey of contemporary Māori art to be presented in New Zealand in recent history. It will feature more than 120 indigenous artists, the majority being women, who have exhibited at Venice Biennale, Centre Pompidou in Paris and many other prestigious venues around the world.
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Ranging from the 1950s to the present day, the show will highlight various art forms that combine history, story, technique and indigenous authorship. COVID-19 has been an obstacle to the exhibition but the artists and gallery are now adapting to the changing times.
Winstanley had to go through the mandatory two-week quarantine period upon arriving back in NZ but is now set to begin production. She will also produce through her newly formed company This Too Shall Pass, alongside Desray Armstrong of Sandy Lane Productions.
“It is clear that we need to ensure voices of those traditionally left out of the conversations for change are heard. Storytelling and Art Activism are ways to contribute to transformation and while artists have always responded to the political and social environment of the times, the critical narrative has often been controlled by those who uphold western artistic ideologies as the benchmark for what is contemporary art. This exhibition is unique because the narrative and therefore the experience is Indigenous from the outset,” said director Winstanley. “My sole focus is to tell stories that give voice to those traditionally left out.”
Next week is Matariki’s eve, the Māori New Year celebration, and while filming her doc Winstanley will also be promoting the re-release of Disney’s Moana Reo Māori, the Māori language version of the animated film, which is being timed for the release of Disney+ in NZ.
Winstanley’s production company‘s DNA is looking to champion a new perspective of indigenous voices and is in development on drama feature The Appeal, the true story of a Samoan lawyer who defends the leader of the Black Power gang citing racial prejudice within the criminal justice system.
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