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BRETT GRAHAM
NEBULA, 21 SEPTEMBER - 1 OCTOBER 2011

Bartley and Company Art is pleased to present this exhibition of 12 drawings by internationally acclaimed Maori artist Brett Graham. Although better known as sculptor, drawing has always been a part of Graham's practice.

The works in this new exhibition {Nebula} were the preliminary drawings for an animation about the wanaga, the traditional Maori schools of learning, which Brett, who is a member of the Ngati Koroki sub-tribe of Tainui, created for the recently opened Tainui exhibition at Te Papa. {Tai timu tai pari, Tainui: Journey of a people} tells the story of Tainui iwi.

The drawings were inspired by the Maori scholar Pei Te Hurinui Jones and Aporo, a 19th century advocate of the Maori religious movement Pai Marire (good and peaceful). A nebula is an interstellar dust cloud but Graham has drawn his title, and hence the references for his work, from Pei Te Hurinui Jones writing in 1957: "It would appear that the Māori, in his spiral designs of carving as used in his sacred rituals, had stumbled on the form of the nebula." Brett Graham's drawings canvas the range of teachings in the wananga which the ethnologist Elsdon Best wrote in 1923 "conserved all oral tradition, all prized lore and transmitted the same, unaltered to posterity".





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