Ngā mihi o te tau hou!

Welcome to 2024, which is already shaping up to be as generous to the textile community as was 2023. For CTANZ, we had another inspiring symposium in a new location; we’re looking forward to another new place this year, when we explore Social Fabric in Whangarei. There’s still time to get your abstract in – the team has kindly extended the deadline to 29 January!

Generally in 2023, everywhere we turned we were tripping up on another textile or dress exhibition which at least it makes for a soft landing. 2024 promises to be just as busy. As posted at the end of last year, it’s getting off to a good start with major exhibitions in Auckland, Wellington and Hamilton showing into January and beyond.

Guo Pei The Da Jing (Magnificent Gold). 2006© Guo Pei. Installation view in Threads of Time, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2023. Photo by David St George.

And then there’s the long list of the dozen or so exhibitions from Auckland to Gore. Some will be finishing by the end of the month, but there’s still a chance to enjoy many on your travels.

While the annual Raumati / Summer salon at Auckland’s Masterworks closes 20 January, the gallery website posts the online exhibition catalogue, which includes various styles of stitching and textile by Alice Alva, Sulieti Fieme’a Burrows, Tui Emma Gillies, Serene Hodgman, Alison Leauanae, and May Trubuhovich. While you’re there, browse through the list of past exhibitions, which include the regular Cloth and Buttons group shows. Also in Auckland, until 27 January, is Steven Junil Park’s The Wind in my Garment at Season. Strictly speaking this is mixed media but the exhibition title gives away that textiles are the main characters in this exhibition exploring aspects of the artist’s identity and heritage.

Further on down the road trip, Gisborne’s Tairawhiti Museum has two textile exhibitions in its current lineup (and more coming up). He Kākahu Rerehua |The Uplifting Wind ‘unfurls the wings of majestic Māori garments cared for by the collections, while Purapura Whetu presents Michelle Hinekura Kerr’s woven and sometimes wearable sculptures.

Cross the motu to Taranaki, where Viv Davy’s From Out of the Blue Gallery continues to champion textile work and provide opportunities for fibre artists to exhibit. The Beach – A Summertime Collection, is a group show responding to an open call for fibre works on the theme.

Heading back towards the south, via Palmerston North, Masterton, Upper Hutt and Porirua. In order: at Te Manawa until 10 February, He Ara Whāriki displays work by the graduating students and tutors of the Maunga Kura Toi weaving programme at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. At Masterton’s Aratoi Wairarapa, there’s Lea-Anne Sheather’s 2D and 3D textiles and collages, Handle with Care, until 10 March, while Upper Hutt’s Whirinaki Whare Taonga’s offering is New Beginnings, work by Pinestream Quilters, until 18 February.

Porirua’s Pātaka starts 2024 with a couple of options – and more to come. Frances Jill Studd’s paintings of textiles, Touches of Silence closes 22 January and there’s also a focus on Niuean craft. Fenoga Tāoga Niue I AotearoaNiue Heritage Journey in Aoteroa celebrates 30 years of the Otahuhu-based Falepipi he Mafola Niuean Handcraft Group Inc with their various taonga until 11 February, while in Foaki Noa: the art of le Pili Niue, heritage artist Joy Sipeli-Antipas explores the traditions of Niuean traditional textiles (until 21 January).

Te Wai Pounamu isn’t missing out either. Te Rā has moved from Christchurch to Auckland but Christchurch Art Gallery has some excellent textiles to take its place. Maureen Lander’s Aho Marama: Strings of Light glows in a dedicated space until 1 June, while textile work is also well represented in the group show Spring Time is Heart-break: Contemporary Art in Aotearoa. Its opening piece is a large wool carpet and benches by Dunedin artist Megan Brady. You can even take off your shoes and let your feet experience this evocation of a braided river. Inside, other textile pieces include Emerita Baik’s quilted fabric panels, Heidi Brickell’s twine-bound kelp hanging sculptures, and sundry mixed media works incorporating drapery, rope, and textile imagery. Lots to see in this major show, on until May. It’s a delight.

Just a couple more – for now. Until 18 February, Ashburton Museum has Suffrage in Stitches, the 300m textile work curated by Wellington Museum working with St Vincent de Paul and Vinnies Re Sew to celebrate the 125th anniversary of suffrage in Aotearoa.

Yuki Kihara_Samoa no uta -_Taiheiyo (Pacific) Gui Tacetti Photo – INSTALLATION VIEW Courtesy Milford Galleries

Dunedin’s contribution to this run of exhibitions is Yuki Kihara’s two kimono sequences at Milford Galleries, サ-モアのうた (Sāmoa no Uta) A Song About Sāmoa – Tūlī’s Flight, and Taiheiyō (Pacific), which zing. The Tūlī’s Flight’s greens and purples tells a story of sky and seas; Taiheiyō (Pacific) includes the delights of the kraken, Godzilla and King Kong to make you smile.

This list ends with Bev Moon’s Fortune, which leaves its most recent showing, at Gore’s Eastern Southland Gallery, on 24 January. Reviewed by Claire Regnault in the most recent Context, this knitted yum cha feast is heading back to the North Island next, with Whanganui and Masterton next on the list.

And here’s something for everyone, no travel required: in case you missed it, RNZ’s feature on the long and distinguished history of Hill’s Hats.

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