Once upon a time | 26 August - 19 September 2015
History is given visual representation in Lonnie Hutchinson's new show Once upon a time, which talks about genealogical connections across time and place. More specifically the work references the migration stories of her Ngai Tahu ancestors and their journey from the North to the South Island.
Using what has become her signature medium -- heavy black builder's paper cut, pleated and concertinaed -- Lonnie explores the power of the pictogram, motif and pattern to suggest or stand in for ideas and actual events of history. While the koru form clearly indicates the cultural lineage of the work, most of the forms have been devised by Lonnie to illustrate her whakapapa and speak to the ongoing relevance of history.
The works are about Tūhaitara who in her staunch demand for respect, Lonnie says, continues centuries later to provide a role model for Ngai Tahu women. The name and memory of Tūhaitara is still very much alive for Ngai Tahu in Canterbury and the name Tūhaitara has been gifted to a coastal park in Kaiapoi.
Once upon a time is Lonnie's first solo and third exhibition at Bartley Company Art. It has been timed to coincide with her survey show Black Bird: Lonnie Hutchinson 1997 - 2013, which recently opened at The Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt, having travelled from the Gus Fisher Gallery in Auckland. A hardback catalogue with several essays accompanies the exhibition providing an indepth examination of her practice.
Lonnie, who is of Maori and Samoan descent, has been described as a trail-blazing Pacific woman artist. She has been exhibiting steadily nationally and internationally for nearly 20 years and has had work included in significant international exhibitions, such as Paradise Now? : Contemporary Art from the Pacific (2004), Asia Society New York and Pasifika Styles (2006-8), University of Cambridge Museum, that have served to raise awareness of Pacific artists and art in the US and UK. She has also produced several major permanent and temporary site-specific installations.
Tonga o te ra (detail)
size: 2600 x 700mm
media: builders paper, metal eyelets & steel pins
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