Rosanna Raymond

The Eyeland Archive

The Eyeland Archive by Rosanna Raymond

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For 25 years Rosanna Raymond has gathered, collected, organized and arranged an exceptional visual and documentary record focussed on the emergence of contemporary Pacific artists involved with visual art, video, performance, fashion, adornment, costume, photography and street style.

The Eyeland Archive is a visual and documentary confirmation of Raymond’s vocation as a multi-media performance poet and artist, designer, stylist and curator. The archive is not an inert gathering of objects but a living container of the artist’s relationships with an international cohort of Pacific visual arts and performance communities as well as members of the public.

The archive comes to the Gallery as a vessel that will be expanded by additional knowledge gained from interactions between the artist, the Gallery and the numerous collaborators that Raymond has worked with over many years. It is a repository based within the Gallery which is concerned with outreach, sharing, mentoring and community involvement. These motivations of talanoa are central to Raymond’s practice and are the reason why she regards The Eyeland Archive as an artwork capable of and on-going knowledge expansion and liaison.

By mirroring the artist’s own vocational practice and history, and reflecting all the people she has worked with, as well as all the projects that she has undertaken as an artist, the archive is a resource that is larger than the artist’s personal life simply because she has been involved with so many other creatives. To an extent, the Auckland Art Gallery is entrusted with being a guardian for the artist’s belief in the mentoring of others.

The Eyeland Archive exists through her belief that it reflects the artistic aspirations of many Pacific people. Rosanna Raymond’s Eyeland Archive has become a physical incarnation of the Pacific concepts of Vā and Talanoā. It documents the changes that have occurred in the last 2 generations and aspires to share learnings from this growth.

The archive further encompasses the history of the Pacific sisters – in which Rosanna was a leading figure. The Pacific Sisters were formed in 1992 by Selina Forsyth (Samoan), Niwhai Tupaea (Ngāti Katoa), Suzanne Tamaki (Tūhoe, Te Arawa, Ngāti Maniapoto), Rosanna Raymond (Samoan), Feeonaa Wall (Samoan), Ani O'Neill (Cook Islands), Lisa Reihana (Ngā Puhi), Jaunnie Ilolahia (Tongan) and included Henry Taripo (Cook Islands), Karlos Quartez (Cook Islands) and Greg Semu (Samoan). The Sisters’ contribution to art, fashion, style and adornment is substantial and is already being regarded as one of the most influential art collectives in New Zealand’s contemporary art. In working between cultures, the Pacific Sisters became radical agents for changes through both their fashion interventions and performance activations.

The Eyeland Archive parallels many issues raised in Ernst Van Alpern’s book Staging the Archive – Art and Photography in the Age of New Media, London, Reaktion books, 2014. Van Alpern argues that ‘archival artworks’ mobilise ‘the model of the archive’ (p7). He notes that the ‘archive is the place of transition from private to public’ (p87). Current thinking about the intersection between ‘archival artworks’ and ‘artworks as archives’ are predicated on notions that question what art is and what art can do. When Rosanna Raymond designed costume, carved adornments, presented performances utilising her costumes she was reinventing how fashion can be created in New Zealand. By being a fashion model while also making her own clothes she subverted tradition. When she was photographed by artists such as Kerry Brown and Greg Semu she consciously referred to historical photographic representations but from a contemporary perspective. Following these processes Raymond then proceeded to publish her home-made urban Pacific street fashion and show new directions for both costume and adornment.

Title
The Eyeland Archive
Artist/creator
Production date
1989-2014
Medium
black and white photographs, colour photographs, 35mm slides, polaroid photographs, proof sheets, posters, video, audiocassettes, printed and written ephemera, publications
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2016
Accession no
2016/25
Copyright
Copying restrictions apply
Department
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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