On 14 May we open “Ngā Hau Ngākau”, an exhibition of paintings, sculpture and music that explores the narratives of Te Ao Māori. Painter Robin Slow has created dozens of intricate and highly detailed paintings that use a bird motif to show characters and elements from Māori mythology. They’re complemented by taonga pūoro of bone, wood and shell by master carver Brian Flintoff, each one designed to sound like a different bird. Musician Bob Bickerton ties these themes together with waiata and otherworldly soundscapes. This cross-media approach means there’ll be something new to see, some new connection to be made, every time you step into the gallery.
“Edith and George: in our sea of islands” opens on 28 May and features portraiture by two New Zealand photographers separated by more than 100 years. At the beginning of the 20th century, George Crummer travelled to the Cook Islands and photographed its resid ents; contemporary photographer Edith Amituanai has juxtaposed these images with her own portraiture of youth in West Auckland. By comparing and contrasting these two worlds, she creates a conversation about migration, colonisation, identity and cultural exchange across the Pacific.
Coming from South America, “The Inỹ People of Central Brazil” is a collaboration between Te Manawa, Massey University and the Museu do Índio in Rio de Janeiro. It’s an insight into how indigenous people in a small area have preserved their unique heritage, in particular through the rituals that balance and preserve their way of life. Central to the exhibition are unique, ceramic figures called ritxoko. These are made by Inỹ women artists who proudly use their art form to maintain their tribes cultural traditions. The exhibition opens on 4 June – and in a first, all of the featured bespoke, handcrafted artefacts will be available for purchase.
The Art Gallery is open daily from 10am to 5pm. All these exhibitions will have free entry.