Pacific Samplers 16 September - 10 October 2020

Needlework samplers are a reflection of Western education from a time when needle work and embroidery were considered essential skills. Pacific Samplers speak to a different tradition and the universality across the Pacific of the making and decoration of tapa cloth. Referencing sampler practices, the artists have, through their own individual 'fine craft' practices, created a suite of works that engage with aspects of passing down cultural knowledge and skills. Inspired by recent visits to the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the pair use Pacific Samplers as a playful opportunity to share how pieces from the archives motivated new developments in their work.

Cora-Allan Wickliffe is a multi-disciplinary artist and curator of Maori and Niuean descent. A contemporary practitioner of the Niuean tradition of barkcloth known as hiapo, she is credited with reviving the "sleeping artform" which has not been practised in Niue for several generations. Her 'samplers' show her skill and draw attention to hiapo's components - white cloth (unlike the tan ground of the cloth prevalent across much of Polynesia) and the decorative elements - delicate botanical drawings and abstract patterns. Unlike lots of women across the Pacific, Wickliffe was unable to learn her craft sitting alongside older women and has had to research and teach herself. Her work is very important to the Niuean community and has been exhibited in Australia, Aotearoa, England and Niue. She has already had a sell-out exhibition in New Zealand and her work is in the collections of Te Papa and Auckland Museum. Wickliffe has a Masters in Visual Art and Design from AUT.

Hutchinson's new work has been inspired by seeing cut-outs made in tapa cloth clothing in the museum. Here her distinctive black builder's paper is replaced by densely patterned wall paper and her signature dextrous cutting techniques are shown in bright new multi-coloured works. A senior artist of Maori and Samoan heritage, Hutchinson works across a wide range of media including film, performance, painting, sculpture and installation to articulate and advance a Polynesian world view. She has exhibited nationally and internationally for over two decades and has been included in several major international exhibitions of Pacific art. A survey exhibition was held in Auckland and Lower Hutt in 2015 and another major exhibition is planned for Christchurch Art Gallery in 2021. She has also produced several major, temporary and permanent, site-specific installations - most recently for the new justice precinct in Christchurch.

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Installation view 1
year: 2020