Pablo’s Art Auction 2022

Art for art’s sake

Wellington Batucada at Pablo's Art Auction 2022. Photo by Rebecca Routhan.

Over the last 20 years Pablo’s Art Auction has gone from a small “Cuba Street vibe” alternative event to a rather up-market affair attended by Wellington’s literati, glitterati, art-erati and everything else-erati. It’s quite a big deal these days, and raises funds for Pablo’s Art Studios’ day-to-day work, providing art therapy, materials, art experiences and creative opportunities of all kinds to people who need them.

We were quite honoured to be invited to provide the entertainment for this event, with our drummers and dancers performing in the foyer of the National Library before the auction itself got underway.

In retrospect, we should probably have worn our 2018 costumes – each one hand-made and unique to the wearer, featuring our director Tim Cooke’s own Batucada-inspired fabric design. They’re pretty special, and would have suited this rather bespoke occasion very well.

Perhaps if we ever get invited back again, we will do so – but I’m not certain we will – as we were quite a large group in quite a small space – with our audience (not wearing earplugs!) sitting very very close to us. Too close, in fact.

A slice of Tim's 2018 fabric design

I spent much of the gig being distracted by (and feeling very sorry for) the lady in the front row with her fingers in her ears, who looked as though she was sincerely regretting her choice of seating that evening. That, and trying not to whack the dancer in front of me with my chocalho (shaker) every time I made a move.

Band members will tell you I take some pride in my “stepping” abilities while playing, and it definitely came before a fall (two actually) on this occasion. At one point I completely lost count of how many bars we’d played before a 360° turn on the chocalho, and spun around a full bar before my fellow player Lisa did her turn. Later, during Six-Eight, where we normally all turn through 360° every four bars, I completely missed our director Darryn’s signal that we should NOT turn around as there was no room to do so – and found myself doing another solo spin while everyone else looked on in amusement. Doh!

Apart from the sheer loudness of the performance, I think the audience quite liked us – they were pretty enthusiastic in their applause – and I’m hopeful that we put them in the right mood to bid heaps and raise loads of money for Pablo’s. It was very nice to be asked to take part.

Photo gallery

Photos by Kelly Etuata and Rebecca Routhan. Click on any thumbnail to see the larger version:

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