My art practice is grounded within the Samoan concept of the vā or 'in-between space.' Vā centers spatial relationships as a way to understand and move in the world. In my art practice, this translates to interrogating relationships, how we relate to ourselves, each other and the larger world. This can be between humans but also includes structures of power and other ephemera. I am fascinated with the in-between space in which we spatially relate with each other and how our in-between spaces inform the way we move in the world. My work whether it be through hair, the medical file or technology and Samoan tatau (tattoo) is looking at the connections between the self and the outside world and the relational grounding that occurs in this in-between vā (space).
Pelenakeke (Keke) Brown identifies as an immigrant and uninvited guest to Mannahatta, Lenapehoking. She hails from Aotearoa/New Zealand and is a Samoan, afakasi, disabled, queer artist. Her practice is multidisciplinary and spans drawing, writing and movement. She is a current recipient of Dance/NYC’s Disability Dance Artistry Award. She is a 2018 Create Change Fellow with the Laundromat Project and a NYFA Immigrant Artist Program alum. She has attended residencies at the Vermont Studio Center (VT), Denniston Hill (NY) and Ana Pekapeka Studio (NZ). She has exhibited her work in San Francisco, New York, London and Auckland, NZ. Her non-fiction creative work has been published in The James Franco Review, Hawai‘i Review, Apogee Journal and the upcoming Movement Research Performance Journal. She is a founding member of Touch Compass, New Zealand's first mixed-ability dance company.
She attended the National Academy School of Fine Art, Studio Intensive Program, NY and received a BA in English literature and Pacific Studies, focusing on art and literature by indigenous people as well as post colonial theory, from Auckland University, NZ. Currently she is the Assistant Director of Culture Push, a NYC based non-profit arts organization.
Proud sister of Ruth, Deborah, Timothy, Elsie and Noah xx