Francis McWhannell

Quishile Charan: 'Fijianx' at the 2016 Auckland Art Fair

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Quishile Charan is a young Indo-Fijian artist currently studying at the University of Auckland's Elam School of Fine Arts. Her work addresses issues of oppression and displacement, and expresses the artist's deep sense of connection to her tangata (people) and fenua (homeland).

As part of the non-commercial 'Pacific Real Time' Projects at the upcoming Auckland Art Fair, Charan will create an installation called 'Fijianx', part of an ongoing series of works of the same name. The 'x' in the title refers to the algebraic symbol for an unknown value, inviting reflection on the 'value' of being Fijian.

Charan's installation at the Art Fair will comprise seven plinths coated in haldi (turmeric) and topped with pooja niu (Fijian prayer coconuts). The haldi answers instances of whitewashing in the history/present of Viti (Fiji) and its people, activating a process of cleansing and healing.

The number of plinths relates to the seven stages of migration undertaken by the artist's ancestors to reach the Pacific Islands and the land of Viti. Charan notes, "Each plinth stands as a part of the journey and an offering, a way of re-claiming the journey - one that is not talked about and cannot be forgotten."

As an unrepresented artist, Charan is funding 'Fijianx' herself. Funds raised from this Boosted campaign will pay for materials, with any remaining monies going to the artist. Francis McWhannell is a freelance researcher/writer and Assistant Curator of 'Pacific Real Time'. He has prepared this campaign on behalf of Charan.


  • Vinaka vaka levu – thank you!


    Vinaka vaka levu to everyone who has helped Quishile Charan not only to meet but to exceed her target. Thanks to your generosity, Fijianx will appear at the 2016 Auckland Art Fair, as part of the Pacific Real Time Projects. Funds raised thus far will cover material costs, with a little left over for Quishile. Any additional donations will go towards paying the artist for her time.

    Quishile has been overwhelmed by the support of family, friends, and strangers. It's been a tremendous encouragement. The artist and I hope to see many of you at the Art Fair, which runs 25–29 May at The Cloud on Auckland's Queens Wharf. In the meantime, check out this interview with Quishile on bFM's Artbank, which will give you a great idea of what Fijianx is all about.

    Francis McWhannell, Assistant Curator, Pacific Real Time

    Vinaka vaka levu – thank you!

Other Projects by Francis McWhannell