lei-pā Exhibition / Art Installation


Start Date4 August 2017
End Date8 September 2017
Names of ArtistsDarcell Apelu, Sione Monu, Kerry Ann Lee, Liao Li, Jinghu Li, Weiwei Liu, Natalie Robertson, Songhao Huang, Salome Tanuvasa, Angela Tiatia, Vaimaila Urale
CuratorLana Lopesi and Ahilapalapa Rands
Organiser / VenueST Paul St Gallery, AUT University
ArtformVisual arts
CityTāmaki Makaurau Auckland


lei-pā was an exhibition curated by Ahilapalapa Rands and Lana Lopesi which connected artists from Asia and Moana-nui-a-Kiwa through food cultures and the history of indentured Asian labour involved in colonial food production.

An exhibition presented at ST Paul St Gallery (now called Ngutu Kākā) brought together a range of artists from China, and with Chinese heritage, as well as Aotearoa and Moana-nui-a-Kiwa artists. It developed out of a research trip that Rands and Lopesi took in 2016, visiting Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai with the support of the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

The exhibition was accompanied by an activity book and a publication, with some of the exhibition texts produced in three languages: te reo Māori, Chinese, and English. In their introduction, Rands and Lopesi wrote:

Through a variety of artistic approaches, lei-pā uses food and labour to open up conversations of cultural exchange across Moana-nui-a-Kiwa. Through shared traumas of sorts, we can bypass the empire and talk directly to each other as we have been doing for thousands of years.

lei-pā is one of several exhibitions in during the 2010s that connected Asian and Pacific artists in Aotearoa. In the lei-pā publication the curators of The Asia-Pacific Century, Ioana Gordon-Smith and Emma Ng, wrote: “In many ways, The Asia-Pacific Century (APC) and lei-pā are sister projects, most obviously because of their interest in tracing connections and resonances between the Pacific and Asia.”


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lei-pā exhibition catalogue, 2017

[pdf ↓]

lei-pā exhibition room sheet, 2017

[pdf ↓]