Areta Wilkinson


Ngāi Tahu, Māori

Hei Tupa

  • 2013
  • oxidised sterling silver, polyester
  • Purchased, 2016
  • 2016/057

Some contemporary artists incorporate the latest technologies in their works; others, like Areta Wilkinson, offer new perspectives on traditional forms. Wilkinson combines a contemporary jewellery practice anchored in an awareness of the body with traditional Māori systems of knowledge, in which objects are often used to mediate connections between people, and with the wider world. Recently, she has made works that relate to the taonga whakarākei (personal adornments) of her Waitaha, Ngāti Mamoe and Kāi Tahu ancestors. “These new works do not seek to replicate an existing image of the world”, she has said, “but instead alert me to a new way of seeing from the world in which I stand, whilst still maintaining a relationship with the past.” Directly relating to a shell necklace from Rāpaki near Christchurch, this necklace of tupa, or scallop shell, asserts the role of Kāi Tahu tūpuna as the first artists working in the region”.

(We do this, 12 May 2018 - 26 May 2019)

Exhibition History