Be. Leadership Alumni News: Interdisciplinary Artist Pelenakeke Brown

We’re excited to share news with you about one of our amazing Be. Leadership alumni, Pelenakeke Brown.

Picture of Be. Leadership alumni and interdisciplinary artist, Pelenakeke Brown leaning against a rail.

Pelenakeke completed the Be. Leadership Programme in 2011, as part of the inaugural cohort. After graduating, she said:  

“Everyone has the potential to be a great leader and the Be. Leadership programme has helped me realize that I could be one too.”

Pelenakeke’s story

In the eight years since completing the programme, Pelenakeke has gone on to explore her leadership through her art practice. She is an interdisciplinary artist with a focus on disability and Samoan concepts, and where they overlap and intersect.  

New Zealand to New York - and back again

Two years after completing the Be. Leadership programme, Pelenakeke travelled to New York to study at the National Academy School of Fine Art.  

During the six and a half years she was there, she was also an artist-in-residence and worked at prestigious art and performing art institutions. She performed and exhibited her work internationally and has been published in international journals.  

Pelenakeke returned to Aotearoa earlier in 2020 to take up a role as Interim Artistic Director at Touch Compass Dance Trust, an organisation she is a founding member of.

A digital celebration

This year, to celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Touch Compass, together with Auckland Live, made an exciting new digital work, i-waengā.

Touch Compass commissioned seven artists to respond to the theme of time and space, with each artist offering their different perspective. Combining sound installations, digital poetry and stop motion animations, some artists chose to beat the clock or bend time, while others created moments of stillness.

You can learn more about the artists and their contributions over on the Touch Compass website.

The multimedia i-waengā digital exhibition was screened in Aotea Square on Auckland Live’s Digital Stage on Thursday 3rd December and across Touch Compasses’ digital platforms, now you can watch and enjoy it here.

We’re really excited to see what else comes from Touch Compass under Pelenakeke’s direction.

Be. Lab's one-year leadership programme offers participants a unique opportunity to realise and develop leadership potential, self-awareness and the skills and attributes needed to create meaningful change.

Learn more about the programme here.


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