AAF 2022

Light is an important element in the navigational culture of our ancestors. Around the world, sun rise, sun set, and the moments in-between, are dependable guides. They provide indicators of location and time –the ascent into daybreak or the descent into nightfall, otherwise known as Twilight, of which there are three stages.

Tama nui te rā – when the sun starts to set. Light is still visible above the horizon, but the sun has dropped below the skyline. The skies change colour and the eyes of the navigator start to sharpen, to begin looking for the night markers that will guide the way forward.

Kārohirohi – the shimmering heat from the sun that becomes more visible in the form of mirages as the sun is setting.

Mārikoriko – that in-between time where the light fades out and darkness begins to take over. Stars become more visible, painting a map in the sky that will lead the waka in the right direction.

With the theme and curatorial lens of “Truth” weaving throughout the Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki / Auckland Arts Festival (AAF) 2022 programme, we visually explore this concept through our design – balancing the layers and tensions of light moving to darkness.

Truth is not always seen in the same light. The space between truths is often dark, and the realisation of truth can be illuminating. With the majority of the works presented in AAF taking place between dusk and dark – twilight – we welcome you to engage, through the voices of our artists, a world of light and truths.

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Shona McCullagh, Artistic Director

Nau mai, haere mai! AAF’s passion is to unify, uplift, and inspire our love of artists, culture, friends, and whānau.

A festival is a gathering to celebrate, speak, listen, look, feel, question, and reflect on who we are as individuals, as the people of a city, a nation, and a global village. It reminds us of the cycle of time and offers us escape from daily rhythm with a chance to pause, be entertained, and deepen our experience of life or empathy for another human’s journey in this complex world.

Aesop said, “Every truth has two sides; it is as well to look at both, before we commit ourselves to either”. We celebrate that the voices of a city are of many worlds and many truths – subjective to every dialogue and experience we encounter, and there is of course, no single truth. We can know something to be true or believe it to be true. I believe it’s artists who are the antennae of the world, the soothsayers and truthtellers, and have the courage to tell it like it is, from their perspective.

AAF 2022 contains a vast array of incredible work including 14 world premieres, 8 commissions, 7 NZ premieres, 5 Auckland premieres and more than 80 shows and events. A multiplicity of rich strands of culture and stories make Aotearoa an unbelievably vibrant tapestry and its artists continue to shine their radiant light this year. Look out for dazzling cabaret in Truth and Lies, our comedy series Truthbombs, brave conversations on International Race Relations Day, and we dare you to take a real life lie detector test in the intimate experience of Truthmachine.

It takes a village to pull off the incredible feat of a Festival in ordinary times, much less through an ongoing global pandemic, so hats off to our board, funders, patrons, sponsors, and of course, the incredible AAF team led by Chief Executive David Inns. We are all proud to support more than 700 artists and 160 crew and venue staff through our Festival next year.

We all truly hope you, the audience we do all this for, relish in this time to laugh, to cry, to dance, to sing…enjoy!

Aroha nui

Shona McCullagh
Artistic Director, MNZM, Arts Foundation Laureate

Ataahua Papa, Kaihautū Māori

“Tupu te toi, ora te toi, whanake te toi, ko te toi i ahu mai i Hawaiki”

Nā Kīngi Tāwhiao te tongi nei, hei āki i a tātou ki te tiaki i ngā taonga motuhake o te ao.

This tongi (chiefly saying) from Kīngi Tāwhiao encourages us to grow, sustain and develop that which stems from Hawaiki. It encompasses everything that we hold dear in the world around us, be it arts, our reality, whānau, community and culture.

In this topsy-turvy existence that we find ourselves in, we all have a kete of resources and tools that keep us motivated to reach towards the light and to continue onwards and upwards. The arts are one of those tools. Music, song, theatre, storytelling, dance, and kōrero – as a practitioner these forms allow us to relay our thoughts, ideas, and expressions; and as an audience member they inspire connecting, bonding, or escaping the current reality, if only for a brief respite.

In te ao Māori, we use “pono” and “tika” when talking about truth and being true to oneself; however, these kupu also relate to being fair, just, accurate, and appropriate, among others. There are many ways to look at the truth, and as individuals we each have a personal understanding of these concepts, based on our own background and lived reality, which is often different to that of the people around us.

The collection of works offered for our 2022 Festival is a mixture of concepts told in different forms. Some challenge us to look at the world from another perspective, while others encourage us to sit back and reflect. A new dance work, Waiwhakaata, tells a story of re-connection with culture, place and whānau, Anthology of Truth brings a selection of songs, some with hard-hitting messages, Te Kai a te Rangatira calls us all together in celebration of te reo Māori and Kōpū dazzles us with voices of rangatahi wāhine casting their whakaaro out into te ao tukupū (the universe).

Kua kohia e mātou he hōtaka toi hei whakarongotanga, hei tirohanga, hei whakaarotanga hoki māu. Rukuhia te hōhonutanga o ngā kōrero ka puta, engari ko te manako ia ka pā te wairua o ngahau, o harikoa hoki ki a koe.

E te tī, e te tā, nau mai ki Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki 2022. Hurō!

Nā,

Ataahua Papa

Kaihautū Māori

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