Pelenakeke (Keke) Brown is visual artist, writer and performer based in New York. Born in Auckland, New Zealand, she received her BA in English Literature and Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland 2010 and completed the Studio Art Intensive at the National Academy School, New York (2016). She was a founding member of New Zealand’s first mixed ability dance company Touch Compass. She has exhibited in New York and San Francisco and was a 2016/17 artist in the New York Foundation for the Arts Immigrant Artist Program. She has attended the Vermont Studio Center and her writing and art have been published in the James Franco Review, the Hawaii Review, and the Apogee Journal.
Pelenakeke's work is interested in social practice and the intersections within our identities by using the Samoan concept of the Va or between-space. The Va is a relational concept and understanding of space, including context, history, memory, inter-personal relationships. As an afakasi (mixed-race) Samoan, queer, disabled, immigrant woman she is interested in the many in-between spaces we occupy. Her mediums include drawing, storytelling, words and movement, often using Hair as subject matter to explore these intersections within ourselves.