Toi Tū Ora: Contemporary Māori Art spans 70 years and brings together more than than 300 artworks from 111 artists – and 42 of them are Massey staff or graduates.
The exhibition is the largest ever presented by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and offers insights into the development of Māori art from the 1950s to the present day.
The first major exhibition of its kind in nearly 20 years, Toi Tū Toi Ora is informed by a Māori worldview and explores cultural histories, Māori knowledge, identity and place through painting, sculpture, printmaking, clay-making, jewellery and body adornment, photography, digital media, film and installation art.
Toioho ki Āpiti and Whiti o Rehua School of Art staff members and artists whose work features in the exhibition include Head of School Associate Professor Huhana Smith, Professor Ngataiharuru Taepa, founder of the Bachelor of Māori Visual Arts (BMVA) Programme Professor Robert Jahnke, Associate Professor Kura Te Waru Rewiri, Lecturer Erena Arapere-Baker, Associate Professor Rachael Rakena and Senior Lecturers Shannon Te Ao and Hemi Macgregor.
Toioho ki Āpiti alumni featured in the exhibition include curator Nigel Borell and artists Sandy Adsett, Reweti Arapere, Erena Arapere-Baker, Israel Tangaroa Birch, Chris Bryant-Toi, Paerau Corneal, Vanessa Wairata Edwards, Steve Gibbs, Charlotte Graham, Ngaahina Hohaia, Rangi Kipa, Te Rongo Kirkwood, Hemi Macgregor, Bridget Reweti, Terri Te Tau, Gina Matchitt, Claudine Muru, Aimee Ratana, Kereama Taepa, Wi Taepa, Tawera Tahuri, Kelcy Taratoa, Saffronn Te Ratana, Donna Tupaea-Petero, Dorothy Waetford, Gary Whiting, Areta Wilkinson and Christina Hurihia Wirihana.
They are joined by inaugural staff member of the BMVA programme Shane Cotton, former visiting lecturer and author of two Māori Visual Arts papers that formed the initial foundation of the BMVA programme John Bevan Ford, former lecturer Brett Graham and Fine Arts alumni Sarah Hudson.
Curator Nigel Borell, Pirirākau, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Te Whakatōhea, says, “Toi Tū Toi Ora is organised around the Māori creation narrative as a way to enter into a conversation about the importance of Māori art and artists, and to explore what unites these artists across space and time.”
As Professor Smith, Ngāti Tukorehe, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga, notes about the representation of staff, former staff and alumni alike from two campuses, “it’s not only a testament to the absolute jewel that is the Toioho ki Āpiti programme, which spans undergraduate to PhD, it’s also about the positive impact both Toioho ki Āpiti and Fine Arts programmes, staff and alumni alike have had on the national and international art world, both in indigenous and non-indigenous arenas. To be so well represented in the artist line up is humbling for both these Turitea and Pukeahu-based programmes.”
The exhibition is on at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki until 9 May 2021.
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