The Performance Arcade brings together visual arts and performance in a specially curated ‘exhibition-event’ of live art practices on Wellington Waterfront. An arrangement of shipping containers and scaffold structures provides a temporary architecture for this unique project, housing a bar space, a programme of live music and events, and new performance installations by NZ and International artists. Open 13 hours a day, this event is free to the Wellington public.
[PARABOX] is a multi-sensory installation from New Zealand artist Josephine Garcia-Jowett (Jojo)
Created from hundreds of shredded cardboard boxes, [PARABOX] tells the story of Jojo’s perilous life growing up in the Philippines where home and family were built on fragile, uncertain foundations. Emigration to New Zealand didn’t free her from the responsibility of caring for her family - she still sends home huge boxes stuffed full of essential supplies. In [PARABOX], these balikbayan boxes (balik=return, bayan=home) are torn to pieces, and reconstructed into a room-size cave. The cave is filled with flickering light and half-whispered memories, letting the audience reflect on the ties that bind us all to our homelands.
As a child, Jojo’s family house burnt to the ground while corrupt fire fighters looked on, and only a week later their temporary housing was destroyed by a typhoon. These extreme events form the core of [PARABOX], where Jojo wrestles the forces of fire and water into her installation. She says “While peeling cardboard boxes piece by piece, I remember seeing my parents picking up our lives every time we experienced disaster. One day I saw the picture of my life in my installation and I cried because I was not able to accomplish my dream. I promised myself that I would continue to look after my parents when they get older, but they died too soon. My artwork is like a scar, a reminder of my past.”
Parabox also plays on the Philippines tradition of Balikbayan (balik means return and bayan means home) boxes and Jojo's understanding of paradox. Balikbayan boxes are cardboard boxes stocked with essential supplies like food and clothing, which are sent to families in the Philippines from relatives who have emigrated overseas. Jojo arrived in New Zealand from the Philippines in 1990 with her Kiwi husband Roy (Roy was later killed in a construction accident on Taranaki Street, Wellington in 1991). She often struggled to send parcels to the family she left behind in the country she describes as "corrupt" without jeopardising her ability to make ends meet for her and her two children. "I was in New Zealand for a better life but it was still hard," she says.
Josephine Jowett (NZ)
Josephine Garcia Jowett was born and raised in the Philippines, where she practiced as a Licensed Naval Architect and Marine Engineer. She married in 1988, travelled and migrated to New Zealand in 1990, where she had two beautiful children. Her journey as an artist began with her Foundation in Fine Arts in 1996 and Bachelor's Degree in Visual Arts at the Wellington Institution of Technology in 2007. Not limited to one style, she works with a variety of materials - from painting, sculpture, wearable art to installation. She has previously exhibited her work at The Dowse, Farsite Gallery, Hutt Art - Odlin Gallery, NZ Academy of Fine Arts, Molly Morpeth Canaday Art Awards, and the World of Wearable Arts Awards and Museum.