“There's nothing that compares to early morning starts when the gallery is quiet and empty and I'm walking to my desk at 'back of house' surrounded by beautiful artwork. There's a sense of custodianship and pride when you're granted that privileged access,” describes Iokapeta Magele-Suamasi, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki Community Partnerships Programme administrator.
She describes the programme as an avenue to extend the gallery’s capacity to build genuine connections with diverse audiences within the wider Auckland community.
Ioka completed her arts management master’s degree in 2009. Her thesis entitled 'Public Art Paradigms and Urban Markings in Otara' compiled a case study of Council arts management of a public art project with 'Fresh Gallery' in the Otara Community. Her case study included comparative findings from her travel in Europe and the U.S.A. and was based on extensive research into the governance of public art management in marginal communities.
Following her studies, she volunteered as curator for the 4x wall 'Scorpions for Life' Mural Project (2012 Pacific Art Summit) which was acknowledged by Mayor Len Brown and also included a wall mural painted by lead artists Toa Toetu'u, Mose Eteuate and art students from Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate School winning the 2012 Resene Mural Masterpiece award.
“I'm inquisitive by nature so I loved the research component of my post-graduate study and the critical thinking conversations I had with other master’s students. I also loved field work.”
She also was impressed with Whitecliffe’s strong international links.
“Whitecliffe always encouraged us to establish international links and connections. In retrospect, this was very forward-thinking on Whitecliffe’s part.”