Spark festival set to ignite arts supporters

MIKE MATHER
Last updated 10:16 04/08/2014
Rob Thorne
DAVID UNWIN/Fairfax NZ

TAONGA: Musician Rob Thorne will open the festival.

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More than 20 artists, designers, film-makers, musicians, writers and media commentators will be in Hamilton next week, sharing talent and knowledge.

The annual Spark International Festival of Media, Arts and Design is now in its 16th year. The week-long series of events organised by Wintec's School of Media Arts has become a major event on the national arts calendar.

Spark is designed to engage and educate those with an interest in the creative industries by bringing inspiring people to Wintec students and the Waikato's wider arts community.

The festival will run from August 11 to 15. Its 35 presentations, exhibitions, panel discussions and associated events from local and international presenters, are free and open to the public.

This year's guests hail from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. They include internationally renowned artists Gabriella and Silvana Mangano (Melbourne), photographer Derek Henderson (Sydney) and film director Tapiwa Chipfupa (South Africa).

Musician Rob Thorne will open this year's festival with a taonga puoro performance at 9am on Monday at the Gallagher Hub on Wintec's city campus.

"The programme of events for 2014 is diverse and dynamic and we're excited to be welcoming presenters at the cutting edge of their fields to the Waikato," festival director Megan Lyon said.

"This year we also welcome a contingent of 40 students from the Eastern Institute of Technology in Hawke's Bay. We're really pleased to see the Spark audience grow."

This year Spark was awarded $7000 from Creative New Zealand's 2014 Arts Grant, which will support workshops and presentations by artists Darryn George, and Gabriella and Silvana Mangano, the Melbourne-based duo who collaborate to create videos based on the documentation of their performances.

George exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2013. He has been a finalist in the Wallace Art Award, received a Te Waka Toi Arts Grant and has taken on a major commission for the Deustche Bank's head office in New Zealand.

Visit spark.net.nz for the programme.

mike.mather@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

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