Mahiriki Tangaroa, Andy Leleisi’uao, Sylvia Marsters, Benjamin Work, Raymond Sagapolutele, Telly Tuita, Nina Oberg Humphries, Michel Tuffery & Kulimoe’anga Stone Maka
Te Atuitanga – Between Our Cloak of Stars Paintings, Photography, Sculpture
June 25 – July 16 Auckland
582 Karangahape Road
Gallery entrance via 2 Newton Road
Caren Rangi, Chair, Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa
Ben Bergman, Gallery Director
Hon. George Maggie Angene, Minister, Cook Islands Cultural Development
Anthony Turua, Secretary, Cook Islands Cultural Development
Connection is a powerful sensation, how we relate to each other, and our environment underpins our story, or in Aotearoa, your whakapapa. Our Pacific is a powerful story of connection, from the time of the original Polynesian explorers to today, it is a shared story of heritage that binds us together.Today, this gallery establishes itself in Aotearoa, the first Cook Islands gallery to do so. It achieves this with the support of a core group of artists that share a vision to elevate the standing and exhibition of Modern Pacific Art. It is also the time of Ngā mata o te ariki Tāwhirmātea (the eyes of the god Tāwhirmātea) or Matariki. Matariki is the star cluster Pleiades and for Aotearoa, signals the beginning of the Māori lunar cycle. It is a time to reflect on the year that was, honour ancestors and look to the year ahead.
Which is what we do now.
The exhibition Te Atuitanga – Between Our Cloak of Stars celebrates an evolution of Pacific understanding and shared heritage. These 9 artists are exceptional Pacific artists of Polynesian legacy, and they stand together here now, in Tāmaki Makaurau, the largest Pacific city in the world with an authoritative statement. They form part of an enduring narrative that continually questions our origins, who they/we are, where we are going and what we mean, to our community, to each other and to our place in the world. It draws into focus the meaning of the word Pacific, its people, culture, and its collective aspirations. As current regional developments play out; it is a timely political and cultural conversation.
The ancient navigators, Tohunga kōkōrangi, used the stars and the star clusters like Matariki to navigate the vast Pacific Ocean and find new land. This skill was revived almost 50 years ago and remains in active use today; double hulled Vaka once again traverse the oceans. But the search parameters have now changed, and it is not land that is being sought but knowledge is. In the rediscovery of important traditional knowledge, we take information from the past to fortify our future. Today, Pacific artists actively research and explore the rich, rediscovered history of the Polynesians, generating artforms and important discussion of place, self and opportunity. Of most importance they collectively speak to an informed future on a global stage.
As Epeli Hau’ofa stated in his essay ‘Our Sea of Islands’; ‘The world of Oceania may no longer include the heavens and the underworld; but it certainly encompasses the great cities of Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada. And it is within his expanded world that the extent of the people’s resources must be measured.’
One of our resources is visual art and it speaks to you right now, between our cloak of stars.