Toihoukura forges ahead

Hawaiiki Hou (new horizons) exhibition.

Hawaiiki Hou (new horizons) exhibition.

TAUIWI RINA: Toihoukura student Christie Patumaka’s sculpture Tauiwi Rina makes a political statement in the EIT Maori art and design school Toihoukura’s exhibition Hawaiiki Hou (new horizons). Picture supplied

Five heads with Union Jack stickers glued over their ears feature in Hawaiiki Hou (new horizons), an exhibition of works by Toihoukura, Maori art and design school, staff members and students.

Mounted on a wooden plinth, the heads in Christie Patumaka’s sculpture Tauiwi Rina represent the five non-Maori councillors who vetoed expressions made on behalf of iwi to have mortuary waste separated from waste-water.

“Christie Patumaka has done some work based on water in Gisborne. She presented a research paper to the Gisborne District Council on behalf of Rongowhakaata,” says associate professor Steve Gibbs.

“Body wastes are flushed through the waste-water system. They have created a toxic site.”

Fellow post-graduate artist Melanie Tangaere Baldwin’s installation also makes a strong political statement.

Two digital prints titled And So We Prey flank a digital transparency on a lightbox. The work is called Mahuika and is based on the goddess who gave fire to mortals.

The piece talks about the colonisation of mana wahine, says Tangaere Baldwin.

“We are her descendants.”

Tangaere Baldwin’s research was based on the domestication of Maori women since the 1950s when they were typically in roles of cooking, sewing and servitude, says Gibbs.

“They were put in these spaces where there was a future other than being domestic servants.”

Special places were established in New Zealand for the domestication of Maori women who were often trained as servants, says Gibbs.

“Many young women were sent out of this region to be trained.

“In reality they resisted that. They lived in marae and had care roles in Maori communities.”

The exhibition Hawaiiki Hou marks Toihoukura’s 25th year.

“We’re focused on the end of a 25 year period and are looking at a new horizon,” says Gibbs.

The exhibition focuses mostly on degree and post-graduate students’ work. As well as sculpture, painting and installation, new technologies such as experimental film, digital graphics and lightbox have been embraced by students and tutors since the school opened in 1993.

“The move at the moment is into digital technology,” says Gibbs.

“We have to keep in touch with what’s going on around us while at the same time remaining valid.”

Five heads with Union Jack stickers glued over their ears feature in Hawaiiki Hou (new horizons), an exhibition of works by Toihoukura, Maori art and design school, staff members and students.

Mounted on a wooden plinth, the heads in Christie Patumaka’s sculpture Tauiwi Rina represent the five non-Maori councillors who vetoed expressions made on behalf of iwi to have mortuary waste separated from waste-water.

“Christie Patumaka has done some work based on water in Gisborne. She presented a research paper to the Gisborne District Council on behalf of Rongowhakaata,” says associate professor Steve Gibbs.

“Body wastes are flushed through the waste-water system. They have created a toxic site.”

Fellow post-graduate artist Melanie Tangaere Baldwin’s installation also makes a strong political statement.

Two digital prints titled And So We Prey flank a digital transparency on a lightbox. The work is called Mahuika and is based on the goddess who gave fire to mortals.

The piece talks about the colonisation of mana wahine, says Tangaere Baldwin.

“We are her descendants.”

Tangaere Baldwin’s research was based on the domestication of Maori women since the 1950s when they were typically in roles of cooking, sewing and servitude, says Gibbs.

“They were put in these spaces where there was a future other than being domestic servants.”

Special places were established in New Zealand for the domestication of Maori women who were often trained as servants, says Gibbs.

“Many young women were sent out of this region to be trained.

“In reality they resisted that. They lived in marae and had care roles in Maori communities.”

The exhibition Hawaiiki Hou marks Toihoukura’s 25th year.

“We’re focused on the end of a 25 year period and are looking at a new horizon,” says Gibbs.

The exhibition focuses mostly on degree and post-graduate students’ work. As well as sculpture, painting and installation, new technologies such as experimental film, digital graphics and lightbox have been embraced by students and tutors since the school opened in 1993.

“The move at the moment is into digital technology,” says Gibbs.

“We have to keep in touch with what’s going on around us while at the same time remaining valid.”

New horizons

Toihoukura school of Maori art and design marks its 25th year with Hawaiiki Hou (new horizons), an exhibition that looks forward to the school’s future.

The exhibition coincides with the annual Ruanuku art award established in 1995 under a policy initiated by the Tairawhiti museum. The Ruanuku award acknowledges a senior Toihoukura student who has excelled in his or her studies, artwork, cultural practice and leadership abilities.

Professor Jack Richards sponsored the award and continues the practice of gifting an artwork by the award recipient to the museum’s permanent collection.

The scholarship enables the recipient to further their academic studies and art practice.

On December 14 at 5.30pm, Prof Richards will join the presentation of scholarships to top students.

“The school had its origins in a 1998, 20-week foundation course in arts and crafts and by 2006, Toihoukura was offering a three-year Bachelor of Visual Arts degree course,” writes Sheridan Gundry in A Splendid Isolation.

“Toihoukura, which encompasses a whare wananga approach, became a major force in the development of contemporary Maori art.”

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