John Pule / Arts Foundation NZ


Visual Artist/Poet

Laureates 2004
A performance poet and artist, John Pule, ONZM, is largely self-taught and leads a double career as a visual artist and writer.

Born in the village of Liku, Niue, John Pule moved to New Zealand with his family in 1964.

He began writing in 1980 after reading the works of New Zealand poets and has since published two novels: The Shark That Ate The Sun (1992), Burn My Head In Heaven (1998); and four books of poems: Sonnets to Van Gogh (1983), Flowers After The Sun (1984), The Bond of Time (1998), Tagata Kapakiloi(2004) and he co-wrote Hiapo: Past and present in Niuean barkcloth, a study of a traditional Niuean artform, with Australian writer and anthropologist Nicholas Thomas (2005).

He began painting in 1987 and exhibiting in 1989, participating in the first important exhibitions to showcase Pacific Island art - Te Moemoea No Iotefa (1990) and Bottled Ocean (1994). He participated at international art biennales in Johannesburg (1995), Kwangju (1995), Asia Pacific Triennial (1996 and 2002), Paradise Now! (2004), South Pacific Arts Festival (Western Samoa 1996, New Caledonia 2000, Palau 2004).

Other group exhibitions include the Future Tense: Security and Human Rights, Griffith University, Queensland College of Art, Brisbane, 2005; Te Moananui a Kiwa, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland 2005; News From Islands, Campbelltown Gallery, Sydney 2006; The 5th Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; and Tribute, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland 2006; Turbulence: The Third Auckland Triennial, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland, 2007 and Dateline: Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin, Germany, 2008.


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August 25, 2019