Indigenous contemporary works in focus

Indigenous contemporary works in focus

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

Saffronn Te Ratana, Whakarongo ki te karanga (detail), 2014. Acrylic paint, fabric, wood, fibre, steel pins. Collection of the artist. 

March 15, 2014

Māori, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contemporary works in focus

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

Corner Kitchener and Wellesley Streets
Auckland 1141
New Zealand
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This season Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki presents an extensive programme addressing indigenous art from Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. The exhibitions, commissions, publications and discussions offer insight into unique world views from the south Pacific, and draw attention to located approaches to contemporary art-making and cultural practice. 


Five Māori Painters
until 15 June 2014

Māori painting is examined in depth through the work of leading contemporary women artists Kura Te Waru Rewiri, Robyn Kahukiwa, Emily Karaka, Saffronn Te Ratana and Star Gossage. Five Māori Painters offers insight into contemporary Māori painting today, while examining links with historic painting traditions incorporating natural materials and architectural contexts. The energetic paintings of Emily Karaka and the symbol-rich paintings of Robyn Kahukiwa are informed by a deep political engagement with issues such as the implications of the Treaty of Waitangi. Star Gossage’s reflections of land and people invite subtle and introspective contemplation, while Kura Te Waru Rewiri expands the kōwhaiwhai painting tradition (based on motifs from nature) to fresh possibilities. Saffronn Te Ratana takes contemporary painting to a new dimension with her innovative three dimensional expansion of the substantive materiality of paint.  

“Changing the Story: How Do We Understand Contemporary Indigenous Art Today?”
11–12 April 2014

“Changing the Story” is a free symposium at Auckland Art Gallery that includes an evening keynote lecture, a day of panel discussions and workshops that examine the changing thinking around Māori art today. The symposium coincides with the book launch of Five Māori Painters, a companion publication to the exhibition. “Changing the Story” is supported by Creative New Zealand Te Waka Toi and JB Were.

Arnold Manaaki Wilson Pou Ihi | Pou Whenua | Pou Tangata 
Until 31 August 2014

The late sculptor and painter Arnold Manaaki Wilson (1928–2012) remains a significant figure in contemporary Māori art. His remarkable carved pou (posts) are formative within Māori philosophy, art and life. Their physical form relates to the realm of Tāne (the god of the forest). Wilson developed his style of pou to draw attention to their symbolic power and multiple meanings. 

My Country: Contemporary Art from Black Australia
28 March–20 July 2014

My Country showcases the breadth of contemporary art by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, and the connections these artists have with land and nation, or ‘country.’ Alternative views of Australian history and contemporary life are seen through the eyes of Indigenous people. Around 40 artists—including Vernon Ah Kee, Richard Bell, Bindi Cole, Fiona Foley, Mirdidingkingathi Juwarrnda Sally Gabori, Tony Albert and filmmaker Warwick Thornton—present personal, ancestral and indigenous perspectives on traditional and current connections with the Australian continent. The range of sensitive, provocative and beautiful works convey stories and experiences of Black Australia in drawings, photographs, films, carvings, paintings and installations. 

My Country has been selected from the collections of Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane for Auckland Art Gallery, the only venue outside Australia to present these works. The exhibition has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its funding and advisory body, and by sponsorship from Qantas. 

Jonathan Jones Atrium commission
Alongside My Country, Sydney-based artist Jonathan Jones (Kamilaroi / Wiradjuri) has conceived a re-working of his untitled (sum of the parts) 2010/2014 from the Chartwell Collection housed at Auckland Art Gallery for the Gallery’s main atrium. This expansive version of the work comprises 82 precisely spaced fluorescent battens to create dynamic plays of light and shadow that are as compellingly beautiful as they are highly nuanced. Although the cross-hatching and chevron motifs he creates from lights may appear as cool Western minimalism, for Jones they refer to the traditional Aboriginal concerns of country and community—their designs being based upon the carved patterning of Koori (south-eastern Aboriginal) shields and the markings on possum-skin cloaks.

Press contact
Jade Lucas, Communications Officer 
jade.lucas [​at​] / T +64 27 291 9953


Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki: Indigenous contemporary works in focus
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Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
March 15, 2014

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