October 2023 has been a particularly good month for textile exhibitions: here are some comings and goings of note in the south.
The big finish in Christchurch is the last weekend of Te Rā: The Māori Sail at Christchurch Art Gallery. This oldest surviving customary sail is on loan from the British Museum for display in Christchurch until 23 October and, from November, Auckland. In Christchurch, it’s a small but beautifully lit exhibit that lets you get close enough to appreciate the craft involved in making the sail.
Also finishing this weekend, exhibitions in Greymouth and Dunedin. Greymouth’s Left Bank Gallery is showing The Nature of Textiles, a selection of pieces from a collection held by Andy Ross and Andrew Harrison. Their collection comprises fashion, cloth, costume and garments from around the world, different countries across the globe; the show looks at nature’s inspiration for textile manufacture and design, and is in three sections: Status and Identity, Decoration and Embellishment, and Celebration and Ceremony. https://www.leftbankartgallery.nz/whatson
Dunedin’s Hocken Collections is concluding its run of Bev Moon’s well-travelled Fortune (a knitted yum cha for my mother’s 90th birthday). Quite a lot has been written about Fortune so far, including Claire Regnault’s review in the latest Context, which described it as ‘love on the table’. More recently, there’s an interview with the artist by Auckland Museum’s Nina Finigan on The Spinoff https://thespinoff.co.nz/kai/06-10-2023/how-recipes-knit-our-past-with-our-present. Although it’s closing at the Hocken on 21 October, the next stop of the national tour is also in the south, and it will be at the Eastern Southland Art Gallery in Gore from November 2023 to February 2024.
Other exhibitions still have a bit of distance to run. Still in Dunedin until 12 November, there’s Cora-Allan’s Encountering Aotearoa. Cora-Allan (Ngāpuhi, Ngātitumutumu, Niue; Alofi, Liku) is known for her work with the traditional Niuean textile hiapo, which features in her mixed media installation at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery inspired by early encounters between European and Pacific peoples.
Back in Christchurch, a trip in the university direction may be in order. At the Ilam Campus Gallery, Disparate Threads – With Fanny Buss And The Three Bears, is a new exhibition by artist Amanda Newall (to 27 October), featuring textile work produced during Newall’s 2022 Olivia Spencer Bower award. Children’s toys, family history, and a Fanny Buss dress provide inspiration for this mixed media exhibition. Not too far away, at Kate Sheppard House until December, Sure to Rise: Canterbury Women since 1893 is an exhibition of Vivienne Mountford’s felted wool artwork celebrating the Edmonds factory and the women who worked there.
One last October event, in Dunedin again. Christine Keller’s LoomRoom is about to celebrate its 10th birthday. Christine will be marking the occasion at the Dunedin Community Gallery on Saturday and Sunday October 28/29, with looms and weaving in situ. Congratulations, Christine, from the CTANZ whanau, on this milestone.