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Maori aerial gets a new twist

28 February 2007

What do you call a Maori coathanger?

Who:  Rewi and Ila Couch
When: Monday 26 Feb 2007 – Tuesday April 17
Opening: Monday 26 Feb, 5pm
Where: Our City O-Tautahi, Cnr Worcester Blvd and Oxford Tce

Billy T. James joked about it first, “What do you call a Maori aerial?” and now sculptor Rewi Couch and photographer and daughter Ila Couch are giving their twist on the “kotanga” or “coathanger” in a Christchurch exhibition.

“I’ve always wanted to work with my father and the idea for this show came from a lifetime of watching him create objects out of necessity. A coathanger is the urban No.8 wire,” says Ila Couch.

Staged at Our City O-Tautahi, corner of Oxford Terrace and Worcester Boulevard, the What do you call a Maori aerial? Exhibition explores the versatility of the common wire coathanger while honouring the human creativity, genius and practicality of the object.

Rewi Couch says working with coathangers has been challenging and exciting. “I never thought of using coathangers to create art before but now I can see amazing possibilities.”

One of Rewi’s sculptures is of Maui and his brothers catching the sun.

This is the first collaborative project between father and daughter, mainly because Ila is based in New Jersey where she works as a television freelancer.

Last year Ila was a director on the Maori language reality show, Waka Reo, which was screened on Maori TV and will also run on TV3 this year.

The exhibition is curated by Felolini Maria Ifopo who says the show touches on many universal themes, including appreciating what is in front of you and manipulating it to your needs. Ms Ifopo intends to tour the show to other venues around New Zealand.

The show ends April 17.


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