Catching up with Jeremy Leatinu'uJeremy Leatinu'u came back to school in 2013, in his role as Learning Outside the Classroom Co-ordinator for the Te Tuhi Gallery in Pakuranga. The collaboration aimed to develop the skills of MHS art students and it culminated with an exhibition in the Te Tuhi foyer.
Here's a snapshot of his career since leaving school in 2002:
I worked for two years in a bunch of different jobs – factory, landscape, call centre. Then I decided I would go back to school. I studied art for six years – as an undergraduate at the University of Auckland at MIT for five years and then post-graduate at the city campus for one year. Then I went to teachers’ college in Epsom.
I’ve always had a fair idea that education would take a role in my life one way or another.
A lot of things - Art for one. Learning is another. Trying to understand how the world works. And how I fit into all of that.
Reconnecting with MHS through:
His work as Learning Outside the Classroom Co-ordinator for Te Tuhi Art Gallery in Pakuranga. Level 2 Digital Technology students designed animation and video stories which were featured in the Te Tuhi foyer.
He says of the project: “Initially it came about in a discussion with [art teacher] Rangiatua Hollis and our curator. We wanted to support the development of students’ skills in critical analysis, and the process aspects of art making. Technical skills can be accomplished at school; there is an opportunity through the gallery to focus more on the ideas, theories and concepts to be developed, in a way that is relevant to the curriculum.
“We think it’s great for the public to see what’s going on in schools, in particular in the field of animation. We’re quite interested in the project because it is adding to our understanding of how art can be made, viewed and experienced.”
When he’s not working at Te Tuhi:
“I work in the field of video and performance. What I have learnt as a teacher, and the learnings from my students, have a huge influence on my understanding of the world as a person, and as an artist. I think both worlds - although they might be slightly different - do influence one another.
“My artistic practice through video and performance allows me to plan the performance during the week for example and then execute on the weekend.”
Jeremy has had two performances recently – as part of a contemporary Pacific exhibition at the Suter Art Gallery in Nelson; and at the RM Gallery in Auckland, as part of an exhibition that looks at ideas around mapping.
He says he also enjoys catching up with old friends, and thinks the alumni connection programme can support that. “It’s difficult to catch up with mates - even those who I am connected with. It was quite nostalgic to visit the school recently. The buildings have changed. All of that can be nice to experience when catching up.”