It's best known as a timber town but Tokoroa's also proving a cultural melting pot for the arts.
An exhibition entitled Homeboy/homegirl '04: Tokoroa Reprezent, curated by Leafa/Janice Wilson and sponsored by the South Waikato District Council, is running at Waikato University's WEL Energy Trust Academy of Performing Arts till 29 August.
A broad range of works from craft to fine art, from writing to fashion, by Tokoroa artists explores issues of place and identity. The colourful ‘Toke' pop art of Cynthia Kapene, the witty steel sculptures of Dan Buckley, the beautiful tivaevae of 72 year old Patisipa Daniels and the extraordinary set designs of Vanya Crockerare just some of the works in this diverse display. The curator and Tokoroa artist, Leafa/Janice Wilson set out to show how this group of artists had been shaped by the unique cultural environment of this creative south Waikato town.
"When I came to think about all the people from Tokoroa that were involved in the arts in some way it amazed me," she said. "The name of the exhibition, even though it is sounds quite ‘homey' and certainly does draw on that hip hop/urban Pasifika thing, it is really a reflection about what I call ‘Tokoroa regionalism', a celebration of this thing we call Tokoroa culture. New Zealand has become much more multicultural and each of these artists celebrates their identity but not through the landscape but an urban setting, not a city but a small town reality. The town has shaped them and their thinking in some way, and they're capturing what its like to come from this place."
On Friday 6 August at noon, Leafa/Janice Wilson will present a talk about her exhibition at the Academy.
Meanwhile, another in the series Walk the talk featuring work by university staff, is also on show till 29 August. The Heart beat show displays art by Bevin Yeatman from the university's department of screen and media studies