A Celebration of Matariki
20 June 2008
The Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu is alive with the spirit of Matariki. The Gallery is celebrating Matariki with an artistic feast that includes visual arts, performance and music.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for us to bring together a whole range of events and exhibitions that help to connect us with our Maori heritage,” says Gallery Director Jenny Harper. “Matariki gives us an opportunity to reflect - both on what has gone before, and what is in the future.”
Inez Crawford’s Bouncy Maraehas taken up a commanding position in the foyer of the gallery - destined to catch the eye of every small child as soon as they set foot in the building. Inspired by her childhood impression that her local marae was a fairytale castle, Crawford has created her own bouncy-castle wharenui - brown on the outside, bright pink inside and free for children to jump around in.
Darryn George: Pulse
Venturing beyond the foyer, the William A Sutton Gallery has been completely transformed into an artwork under the influence and inspiration of Christchurch artist Darryn George. Using intricate patterns, chanting rhythms and an eye-popping palette of red, black and white, George fills the hushed white cube of the gallery with a continual pulse of light, language and pattern. Stretching more than fifty metres around the walls and reaching from floor to ceiling, Pulse is an engulfing fusion of customary Maori art and contemporary abstract painting.
George started with the previously insignificant centre pole of the gallery; applied colour and pattern, and then spun his designs from the centre pole out to the walls of the gallery.
Gallery Senior Curator Justin Paton says that George frequently alludes to the physical structure of Maori wharenui - the “big houses” with rafters and centre roles representing the ribs and backbones of ancestors. “Fusing the wharenui idea with the clean, hard look of modern abstract art, George has created his own “big house” within the gallery - a decorative environment reaching from floor to ceiling and all the way around,” Paton says.
Inspired by the vast journeys made by early Maori celestial navigators, Travelling Light is an exhibition full of star maps, sea journeys and night flights, according to Justin Paton.
It includes one of the treasures of the Christchurch Art Gallery’s works on paper collection, Ralph Hotere and Bill Cuthbert’s Pathway to the Sea - Aramoana, a suite of prints that overlays the land and skyscape of Aramoana with flight paths, light lines and flight lines.
There is also an Ani O’Neill weaving; a Lonnie Hutchinson cut paper work featuring the peaks surrounding Lyttelton harbour, and a Lisa Reihana digital photographic work on aluminium.
The works in this exhibition are drawn largely from the collections of the Christchurch Art Gallery and bring us different perspectives on the theme of Travelling Light - ranging from travel without stress or excess baggage through to interpretations on the journey of light through space.
Performances, Maori Astronomy and Poetry
This Sunday (22 June) the Gallery will feature concert performances by Ariana Tikan and will feature traditional Maori instruments, poi, rakau and projection by video artist Louise Potiki Bryant. Performances will be at 11am and 2pm, and there is no charge to attend.
The following Sunday (29 June), Christchurch singer Sheree Waitoa (aka Sista) will give one free concert at 2pm. Sheree Waitoa’s influences include jazz, reggae and Maori culture.
Astrophysicist Pauline Harris will lead a session discussing Maori traditional star lore and the role of Matariki in the measurement of time at 6pm on Wednesday 18 June. Admission is free.
A tribute to Hone Tuwhare, the acclaimed Maori writer who died earlier this year, will be held at the Gallery at 7pm on Friday 27 June. The special tribute of poetry and performance to poet Hone Tuwhare, will feature Apirana Taylor, Tusiata Avia, Bernadette Hall, Brian Potiki, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Danielle O’Halloran, Ben Brown, Doc Drumheller, Ciaran Fox and others. There is no admission charge.
Until 27 July 2008
Darryn George: Pulse
Until 24 August 2008
Until 13 July 2008
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