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Pacific Hands exhibition at Our City O-Tautahi, 26 April – 25 June

21 April 2005

The Pacific Hands exhibition, to be held at Our City O-Tautahi on the corner of Worcester Boulevard and Oxford Terrace from 26 April to 25 June, will highlight the vibrancy of Pacific women’s traditional artistic communities, transposed to new locations.

Introducing the traditional artwork of a number of Maori, Cook Island, Niuean and Tongan women, Pacific Hands is the result of a gathering of various groups of weavers during the Lima Festival 2005 (Christchurch Pacific Arts Festival). These groups gathered at the festival to demonstrate their art and pay tribute to the late Cath Brown, a distinguished Ngai Tahu master weaver. 

The Pacific Hands exhibition reflects how this gathering facilitated rich cultural exchanges between the groups where new ideas were shared about their art forms.

Customary practices and traditional materials are embodied in the works - some reflecting traditional Pacific techniques combined with European craft traditions as seen in the Cook Island women’s stunning tivaevae. These are an adaptation of traditional European embroidery and tapestry techniques with the style, traditional art forms, and vibrant colours that are uniquely Pacific.

Other weaving and needlework pieces speak of the importance of women’s skills in the economic and spiritual life of their communities. The vision of many of the women artists in this exhibition is one of people and place.  Often a narrative on nature, these works examine both contemporary issues and the cultural history of the people.

Several of the works featured in the exhibition were made possible by Christchurch City Council Creative Communities funding, which aims to help more local artists and groups promote their works and take a greater part in the city’s arts community.

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