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Auckland Art Gallery announces game-changing exhibition of contemporary Māori art

Robert Jahnke, Ripeka whero from the Te Ripeka series, 2015. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Patrons of the Auckland Art Gallery, 2018.

Auckland Art Gallery announces game-changing exhibition of contemporary Māori art

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki has announced the largest exhibition in its 132-year history.

Auckland Art Gallery announces game-changing exhibition of contemporary Māori art

A major survey of contemporary Māori art from the 1950s to the present day is being developed by the gallery to open this summer.

Featuring over 300 artworks by 120 Māori artists, Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art opens at Auckland Art Gallery on Saturday 5 December 2020 and will be free to the public.

The exhibition will consider new ways of approaching and engaging with the Māori art of the last 70 years.

“It is nearly 20 years since a New Zealand art institution has revisited the story of contemporary Māori art in a large survey exhibition,” says Nigel Borell, Auckland Art Gallery Curator, Māori Art.

“This moment feels timely and essential. It will stimulate critical discussion about the place of contemporary Māori art while also presenting an occasion to celebrate its vitality and uniqueness.

“A project of this scale and importance is a major undertaking, but it is an exhibition that I’ve been thinking about for some years and am extremely excited to now be realising.”

Ngatai Taepa, Tane Mahuta – Manos Nathan Legacy, 2015. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2016

Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art will celebrate a vast range of contemporary Māori art, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, clay-making, jewellery and body adornment, photography, digital media, film and installation art.

It will also present a number of new site-specific commissions by: Mata Aho Collective collaborating with Maureen Lander; Shane Cotton; Emily Karaka; Reuben Paterson; Matekino Lawless and Christina Wirihana; Lisa Reihana; Reweti Arapere; Ngatai Taepa; Sandy Adsett; Areta Wilkinson; and more to be announced.

Auckland Art Gallery Director Kirsten Paisley says, “This ambitious intergenerational exhibition will be a spectacular celebration of the dynamic and changing expression of contemporary Māori art.

“Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art is monumental in its storytelling and its scale and speaks to the very core of the Gallery’s purpose as a bicultural place for the championing of New Zealand art.”

Lisa Reihana, Mahuika, 2001. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2002. Courtesy of Artprojects © Lisa Reihana with thanks to Creative New Zealand.

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