Commentary
Ka Oho te Taonga, Ka Oho te Tangata

Ka Oho te Taonga, Ka Oho te Tangata

In 2014, a team of University of Waikato researchers led by Linda Tuhiwai Smith CNZM travelled to Norway to present their research at the New Zealand Studies Association Conference, held at the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo. The group included myself and Aroha Mitchell (researchers, artists and kairaranga), Rangi Mataamua (researcher and scholar of Māori astronomy) and Haki Tuaupiki (researcher, navigator/waka sailor).

Linda knew of my fascination with Te Rā and encouraged me to organise a visit to the British Museum while we were overseas. Emails flew back and forth between Aotearoa and London, and fortunately the times aligned and we arranged to spend two days at the museum documenting the construction of, and reflecting on the function of, this taonga.

Commentary
Whenua is a Portal

Whenua is a Portal

Manawa mai tēnei i Ahuone mai
Manawa mai tēnei i whenuatia
Manawa mai tēnei he kapunga oneone
Tēnei te mauri
o Papatūānuku,
o Tūparimaunga,
o Parawhenuamea,
o Ukurangi
E whakaata mai nei e
Kōkiri!

Commentary
Verses and Visions of Ship Nails and Tail Feathers

Verses and Visions of Ship Nails and Tail Feathers

The ways that we curate history can make all the difference in the ways we value each other now. As I round the corner on a decade spent working in heritage and curatorial collection management, my beloved museum wrapped in its gothic stone cloak is under decant. It seems the tide is always high, and my mind needs to revel in the freedom of writing in a foreign tongue about that which matters to me. So here is a collection of verses and visions, data and drama about art and artefacts intended to counter what I would describe as the lingering monocular view of histories and heritage material.

Interview
The More we Learn, The Less We Know

The More we Learn, The Less We Know

In July 2023 Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū welcomes Te Rā. This taonga from the collection of the British Museum will be on public display in Ōtautahi for three months before travelling to Auckland Museum and then returning to London. The homecoming of this taonga is a deeply significant moment. In March, pouarataki curator Māori Chloe Cull, was joined by Ranui Ngarimu ONZM (Ngāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Ngāti Mutunga) and Dr Catherine Smith, two members of the research group that has led the project to bring Te Rā to Aotearoa, to talk about what this homecoming means to them.

Commentary
String Games

String Games

“If you think about it, digital, it’s something you play with string, your fingers and a language of computers, strings of binary code. The interplay of old and new. ”

Commentary
Cut It Out

Cut It Out

Make no bones about it, Ink on Paper: Aotearoa New Zealand Printmakers of the Modern Era is an exhibition I have long wanted to curate. I acquired my first print direct from Ralph Hotere when I was an art history student here in Christchurch many years ago. Hotere was the artist that piqued my interest in printmaking, but it is the Aotearoa New Zealand printmakers of the 1910s through to the 1950s that I love the most. Ink on Paper focuses on a generation of artists that were at the forefront of the medium when, following the printmaking revival in Britain, printmaking in Aotearoa was increasingly becoming accepted as an art form rather than simply a method of reproduction.

Commentary
Something’s Missing

Something’s Missing

It’s among the best-loved paintings in the Gallery’s collection, celebrated for the connections and conversations it generates between different generations. People who, as children, encountered Petrus van der Velden’s Burial in the winter on the island of Marken [The Dutch Funeral] (1872) in the neoclassical spaces of the old Robert McDougall Art Gallery now bring their own grandchildren to Te Puna o Waiwhetū to see it.

Interview
Ripples and Waves

Ripples and Waves

Melanie Oliver: In the exhibition Ripple, an ocean horizon line locates us geographically and temporally, connecting Aotearoa to your home in Sydney, Australia and also Suva, Fiji. How does the ocean operate in your work?

Salote Tawale: The ocean is a number of places and spaces for me. Physically, I get so much from the energy of the ocean; it helps to centre me and place myself as a small element in a much larger picture. It’s important as a connector, between the horizon, as a way to Fiji.

Almost everyone that I know who has come from elsewhere lives on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. So when I met a First Nations artist from Los Angeles, the first thing that she wanted to do in Sydney was stand in the water and feel that energy.

My Favourite
Leo Bensemann: Seascape with causeway

Leo Bensemann: Seascape with causeway

The four years I spent at Elam as an undergrad straight out of high school ruined art for me. I entered the building on Mount Street in love with painting and wanting to be a painter, and I left in love with nothing.

Interview
Joyful Glitch

Joyful Glitch

Melanie Oliver: I first saw your work in 2016 as part of a one-night-only exhibition, NOWNOW held at 17 Tory Street in Wellington. It was a sculptural installation with fluids dribbling from a hanging form and I was at once delighted and disgusted. It was visceral and bodily, the drips a reminder of saliva, snot, discharge or cum, but also beautiful and joyful. It had vitality. While your more recent work is primarily video, it retains this abject, sculptural, gooey, oozing quality – it’s biological, or ecological. Why are you interested in grossing people out, in a pleasurable way?

Laura Duffy: I like to think I am interested in (my version of) bodily honesty, more than grossing people out, which could be read as the same thing, especially in earlier works...