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REWETI ARAPERE, ERENA BAKER, LIZ GRANT AND KYLIE TIUKA
TUKU IHO: FOUR GRADUATES FROM MASSEY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MAORI VISUAL ARTS , 8 APRIL - 8 MAY 2010
The notion of tuku iho - taonga passed down through the generations - is central to the rationale or kaupapa of the School of Maori Visual Arts at Massey University. It is an expansive concept, which embraces the innovations afforded by changing times and technology. As Maori in the east of the north island in the second half of the 19th century, responded to the range of paints brought by the settlers and developed a new style of figurative painting for their meeting houses, so today young Maori artists who have chosen to study Maori visual arts look for new ways of expressing timeless ideas and values. Tradition and innovation are thus at the heart of this exhibition.
[Reweti Arapere] (Ngāti Raukawa, Tuwharetoa) brings together traditional carved poupou (ancestral figures) and contemporary urban graffiti in two and three dimensional painted forms. A kura kaupapa (total immersion Maori language) education has provided him with a high degree of cultural knowledge and a commitment to making customary stories relevant to today.
[Erena Baker] (Ngati Toa Rangatira, Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai, Ngati Raukawa) is a photographer whose practice is based on the way her medium has been woven into the framework of Maori custom and ritual. Both sets of work in this exhibition explore the depiction of whakapapa (geneology). Pepeha describes an individual's connection to an iwi (tribe ) and is commonly used a method of introduction.
[Liz Grant] (Ngati Raukawa and Ngati Huri) draws on her background as a biological illustrator to create finely detailed bronze sculptures of native plants which play with the intersection of two and three dimensional forms and effectively operate as paintings and reference the plant forms depicted in some 19th century meeting houses. She is particularly interested in the intersection of art with ecology and the tension between extinction and preservation in ever-changing ecosystems.
[Kylie Tiuka] (Tūhoe) is a painter who sees her work, which is primarily acrylic on canvas, as a means of giving contemporary expression her Tuhoe identity and to connect with her tupuna (ancestors). In this body of work she has moved to explore 3-dimensional form - the diamond forms reference Te Kooti and the surface imagery stories related to her marae and meeting house.