Kamini Nair: vibrant colours of her homeland
Kamini Nair likes painting large canvases of flowers in vibrant colours because they remind her of her homeland Fiji.
Kamini, who has been living in Hamilton for the past 20 years, is one of five artists participating in the “I’m an artist” campaign happening in Hamilton, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.
Arts Access Aotearoa is organising the campaign with funding from the Ministry of Social Development’s Making A Difference Fund. It aims to change attitudes and behaviour towards people with a disability, sensory impairment and mental ill-health.
Supported by creative spaces
It also promotes disabled people as artists who make great art with the support and guidance of community-based creative spaces.
For the past ten years, Kamini has been practising as an artist at Sandz Studio and Gallery, a creative space operated by IDEA Services in Hamilton.
Sandz Studio was established in 2003 and approximately 50 artists attend its art sessions every week. Sandz provides the artists with materials, support and mentoring in painting, printmaking and clay.
Kamini, who was a finalist in this year’s IHC Art Awards with a piece called A Walk in the Garden, attends Sandz Studio one day a week. It goes without saying that art plays an important role in her life.
Asked what she most likes about attending Sandz Studio, Kamini says: "The best thing is that people come to look at my work and see my flowers.”
Samuel Nickalls, Team Leader at Sandz Studio, says she’s a prolific artist. “Kamini’s artwork is very popular and the local community is very supportive of her work. She likes talking about her shows and what’s coming up next.
An independent artist
“She’s very independent with a well-developed art practice. Our role here is to support what she wants to achieve and look for exhibition opportunities.”
Kamini has participated in numerous group shows at Sandz Studio and has had her work in various venues around Hamilton, including Salters Café, Artspost, The Framing Workshop and the Waikato Institute of Technology.
An Attitude Pictures documentary, which looked at the lives of disabled artists from around the world, featured Kamini and her artwork. Shot in 2010 during Kamini’s exhibition at Artpost, documentary reporter Tanya Black noted: “Normally shy, showing her work to the world is giving Kamini more confidence. She’s engaging with the community.”
Kamini has also been internationally successful with her art. Her work has been displayed at art exhibitions in Australia’s King St Gallery in Sydney. She's been interviewed in the United States and her artworks have sold to international collectors.
Kamini and her art are supported by her family. “All my sisters, and my niece and her husband came and looked at the exhibition and took photos”, Kamini recalls of one of her earlier shows.
Maria, Kamini’s mother, has remarked on her daughter’s art that “When I first saw her art, I couldn’t believe she had done such huge works. Her family, not only from New Zealand but also from all over the world – Fiji, America and Australia – are all so proud of Kamini.”
About Sandz Studio and Gallery
Sandz Studio and Gallery, operated by IDEA Services, supports artists with intellectual disabilities to become independent artists. It provides exhibition opportunities and promotes their work as an integral part of contemporary art.