Jim Vivieaere

James Earnest Vivieaere (1947 – 3 June 2011), a New Zealand artist of Cook Island Maori heritage, was born in Waipawa, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. He was a well-respected and significant multimedia and installation artist, freelance curator and a passionate advocate for contemporary Pacific art.[1]

Early life

Vivieaere was raised in the Hawke's Bay by adoptive parents. His contact with his Rarotongan heritage came later in life; in 1982 he was awarded a scholarship to study tapa in Rarotonga and located his father on that trip.[2]:88


High academic achievement saw Vivieaere enrol in Dunedin medical school in the late 1960s. He found it difficult to fit into the ‘white upper middle class confines of med school’[3] and dropped out to enrol at The University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts where he studied graphic design from 1971 to 1974.[3]

Career as a curator

Vivieaere worked to profile contemporary Pacific artists to the world. He curated the formative contemporary Pacific arts survey exhibition Bottled Ocean: Contemporary Polynesian Artistswhich launched at Wellington City Art Gallery in 1994 and toured New Zealand throughout 1994–1995. [3]Bottled Ocean was the first survey of contemporary New Zealand Polynesian art and 'featured many now iconic Pacific artists including Fatu Feu’u, Johnny Penisula, John Pule, Lily Laita, John Ioane, Niki Hastings-McFall, Albert Refiti, Filipe Tohi, Michel Tuffery, Ani O'Neill, Loretta Young, Patrick Futialo (aka hip hop artist Tha Feelstyle Orator).'[4]

In 2006 he was awarded the Senior Pacific Artist Award at the Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifka Awards.[5]

Exhibitions as a curator:

  • 1993Southern Response to Northern Possession, Uberseemuseum, Bremen, Germany.
  • 1994-95Bottled Ocean: Contemporary Polynesian Artist, Wellington City Art Galler] and touring
  • 1995Asa No Hikari, New Sign, Masano and Minori Kawan, Artspace, Auckland, New Zealand.[6]
  • 1996Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Ar, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane.[7]
  • 2009 The Great Journey: In Pursuit of the Ancestral Real, Kaohsiung Museum, Taiwan.[8]

Exhibition list

  • 1979 Documents, Little Maidment Theatre, Auckland
  • 1980 Willis Street Art Centre, Wellington
  • 1980 Hawkes Bay Art Gallery, Napier
  • 1981 5 Hour Exhibition, DB Waitemata Tavern, Auckland
  • 1981 3 Hour Exhibition, Club XS, Airdale Street, Auckland
  • 1982 Works of Art for Sale, Outreach Gallery, Auckland
  • 1982 Women’s Federation Rooms
  • 1982 Avarua Rarotanga
  • 1983 Jim Vivieaere’s Art, RKS Gallery, Auckland
  • 1983 2 ½ Hour Exhibition, Last & First Café, Auckland


  1. Brownson, Ron (2012). Home AKL : artists of pacific heritage in Auckland. Auckland: Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki. p. 136. ISBN 9780864632906.
  2. Griffin, Jane (Spring 1992). "Southern Presence: Meetings with Five Pacific Artists". Art New Zealand (64): 85–89.
  3. Gifford, Adam (21 November 2006). "Man on a Pasifika mission". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  4. Creative New Zealand (10 June 2011). "Tribute: Jim Vivieaere". The Big Idea. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  5. "Arts Pasifika Awards". Creative New Zealand. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  6. Mallon, Sean (1997). Speaking in colour : conversations with artists of Pacific Island heritage. Wellington: Te Papa Press. p. 154. ISBN 0909010447.
  7. Brown, Hero (5 October 1996). "Mutal migrants… but travelling in separate waka". Listener: 39.
  8. BCA Gallery. "Jim Vivieaere passes away". BCA Gallery Rarotonga. BCA Gallery. Archived from the original on 12 July 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
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