Amiria Kiddle, one of the organisers behind OHO, chats with Kendra Walls, from RDU 98.5 FM about the background to this exciting new feature on SALT's cultural calendar. Both Amiria and Kendra have their day jobs in BOXed Quarter, where Amiria is based at Field Studio of Architecture and Urbanism. This article was originally published on RDU 98.5 FM's blog, your go-to for all things Christchurch music including Te Ahi Top 10. Reproduced with permission. Visit the blog of RDU98.5 FM here.
A: We chose the name OHO to evoke a sense of discovery, activation and awakening. Oho can be extended to oho ake; to awaken, rise up or e oho! - a command to wake up, arise, or oho mauri; to jump into action, startle, astonish, shock. OHO is about discovery, energy and action. Where did the idea for OHO Arts Carnival come from?The idea was inspired by a visit to La Fabrica de Arte Cubano, an arts space in a disused factory in La Havana, Cuba. FAC showcases visual arts, industrial design and architecture, cinema, graphic design, photography, fashion, music and theatre, among small bars, restaurants and boutique shops. There was a focus on quality and artistry – skill and craft were at the forefront. Every weekend it brings the arts to a large, diverse audience of all ages and backgrounds with something new to discover around every corner.
To quote our Facebook description, ‘harmonious chaos’! A mish mash, something you hadn’t conceived of previously. Perhaps a new favourite artist/song/poem … a favourite new corner of Ōtautahi.
In general we’ve chosen acts who’ve demonstrated an openness of heart and mind in their work and a passion for their craft. Mundi have amazing energy, anyone who’s seen and danced to them live will know! The same goes for Tumbao, you can’t help but smile and dance. Friendly Potential have emerged in recent years as one of the more progressive and adventurous DJ collectives/promoter crews in the country and really know how to build a dancefloor. Fis and Rob Thorne seem to be carving out new territory for music in Aotearoa and are doing this from a place of deep cross-cultural understanding and aroha. They are danceable in their own futuristic/ancient way! Woven through and around these key acts is a varied line-up of talented local musicians.
There are so many to mention and we’d rather not single too many out! Part of our ethos includes juxtaposing professionalism and playfulness - to see what common ground emerges between them. We have artists who’ve made a living from their work alongside artists who are showcasing for the first time. The overarching theme is their openness and resonance with OHO. A key driver for us is collaboration and connection, working with the Exchange to connect with the right mix of artists has been key. So many styles and disciplines are coming into the picture … and the line-up will expand further throughout the event…
A member of the organising team was involved in the design of BOXed Quarter, and works here, so knows the place well! The development grew from Art Box and so had art at its genesis, the owners were keen to expand on this, so were very supportive of an arts event on their site. Boxed Quarter has the maze-y, discovery element we needed, art panels, blank panels, existing eateries, a bar, smallish tenancies, some of which are vacant, which makes it the perfect location.
The feels, the smells, the sights, sounds and faces... Watching the spaces evolve and transform over the night and the collaborations unfold - starting with a kooky art gallery vibe and ending with people leaving hyped after dancing up a storm to amazing DJs, and everything in between! We’re excited to give people a taste of what we experienced at La Fabrica de Arte coupled with something grounded in Ōtautahi and the incredible talent we have here.