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  • About the Artist:Ani O'Neill

Ani O'Neill's art practice spans craft, installation, object making, and performance. Born in Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand, in 1971, Ani graduated from Auck land University's Elam School of Fine Arts in 1994. Her early sculptural artworks delved deeply into her experience as an "Urban Pacific Islander." This was inspired by her maternal grandmother's traditions based on Cook Islands material and ceremonial culture and firmly nestled—somewhat comfortably—into the big-cityscape of Ponsonby, Auckland. Her work continues to reaffirm the cultural importance of these handcraft and survival skills to New Zea land and international audiences. Her inclusion in such major exhibitions as "The Nervous System" (1995), "Telecom Prospect" (2001), "Bottled Ocean" (1995), the Second Asia Pacific Triennial (1996), and the Biennale of Sydney (1998) contributed to the meteoric rise in her international profile and status as one of New Zealand's bright art talents. Ani has collaborated with many artists in festival performances, presentations, interactive exhibition installations, and workshops—independently and as a member of Pacific Sisters. She has participated in numerous exhibitions and residencies throughout New Zealand, the Pacific, Australia, Europe, and the United States. Since 2008, she has been based in her mother's homeland, Rarotonga, working as an art teacher at Tereora College. Ani and her husband, Croc, a tatau artist, are currently building a home in Muri, Rarotonga. Together they hope to share this space with visiting artists from the wider Pacific and the world, in a very relaxed residency program: BYO hammock.

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Photo courtesy of Waikato

Museum of Art and History/Te Whare Taonga o Waikato

[End Page vii]

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The Buddy System, by Ani O'Neill. 2004, 2006.

Collaborative public installation. Wool, pins, wall, crocher hooks, video monitors, and furniture.

2004 With Co-Buddy Megan Hansen-Knarhoi. Art in General, Chinatown, Manhattan, New York City. 2006 With Co-Buddies Megan Hansen-Knarhoi and Emily Siddell at Arc One Gallery, Festival Melbourne.

Visitors to these "high art" galleries suddenly found themselves within a large and comfy space where they could sit with me and my buddies and watch, learn, enjoy, and contribute to a growing wall of crocheted flowers and green chain stems. At the end of the exhibitions, the works were mailed to friends and loved ones. [End Page viii]

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Tangaroa, by Ani O'Neill. 1992.

Corduroy, embroidery, dacron. 400 mm 350 mm

Collection of Te Papa Tongarewa/Museum of New Zealand, Wellington.

Exploring the question "What is Cook Islands Art?" I merged my knowledge of tīvaivai Cook Islands quilting) with ideas and skills I learned from master carver Michael Tavioni to produce a lightweight "cuddly toy," Cook Islands souvenir version of Tangaroa, the Polynesian deity, god of the sea, and supreme god of Rarotonga—provoking various responses from unsuspecting viewers. [End Page ix]

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Rainbow Country, by Ani O'Neill. 2000.

Wool, steel. 1550 mm × 2440 mm.

Collection of Te Papa Tongarewa/Museum of New Zealand, Wellington.

Like a group of people moving around a music festival, a set of disco lights bouncing from wall to wall, a school of fish among heads of coral, this work is intended to convey a sense of containment as well as freedom. [End Page x]

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'Ei Scrumble no. 4, by Ani O'Neill. 2002.

Exhibition detail from 'Ei Line, Sue Crockford Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand.

Recycled shell 'ei (lei) and nylon. Approximately 100 mm × 100 mm × 100 mm. Private Collection.

The gifting of beautifully made shell 'ei often marks the end of a stay in the tropics for those heading back to colder climes. If 'ei "aren't really your thing," they also turn up in thrift shops around the globe, and they sometimes break. But I love them; I repair and make them into things that resemble a type of flotsam that might wash up on the beach of life. [End Page xi]

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Fresh 'Eke, by Ani O'Neill. 2003.

Installation and detail. Wool...


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