Throughout 2021, across the country,we’ve had opportunities to see plenty of contemporary Māori art. Among this work, there’s been some fibre art, a couple of highlights being the work by Maureen Lander and Mata Aho in the epic Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art and Cath Brown’s Karanga Ngai Tahu II greeting visitors to Dunedin Public Art Gallery’s Hurahia ana kā Whetū Unveiling the stars. But it’s taken until the end of this year for an exhibition to centre on textile art and craft practice – Te Puna Waiora: The Distinguished Weavers of Te Kāhui Whiritoi at Christchurch Public Art Gallery from 18 December to 3 April 2022, is a rare opportunity to view the work of masters of Māori weaving. Curated by Nathan Pōhio, the exhibition is a partnership project between Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū and Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa, with support from Toi Māori.
Te Puna Waiora includes cloaks, tukutuku panels, tāniko, kete, footwear, hats, necklaces and more by members of the group Te Kāhui Whiritoi, which was formed in 2006 to acknowledge senior weavers and their work in ensuring that raranga traditions had survived. Artists represented range from early members of the group to those still active, and the work is displayed in ways that allow viewers to appreciate the craft and knowledge that have gone into it.
There will also be workshops (details to be advised) but for those who won’t get to see the exhibition in situ, there is also a book on the exhibition and the work that has preceded it. There’s also more background online via the following links to an RNZ interview and an essay by Patricia Te Arapo Wallace for the gallery’s Bulletin.
Images courtesy of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū.