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Maori women present their art live

Maori women present their art live

Eight Maori women living in the Tamaki (Auckland) Region are heading to Waiheke Island to do their particular style of art, out in public.

The wahine (women) will be staying and working at Piritahi Marae, Blackpool, for the six days from Wednesday, 16 April 2003, finishing with an on site exhibition, hakari (feast) and entertainment on Easter Monday, 21 April 2003.

During this time the public are invited to come to the marae, watch the artists in action, talk with them and perhaps even purchase an artpiece – all for free.

The artist line-up consists of wahine working in a variety of media, from stone to harakeke (flax), and range from new emerging artists to those nationally recognised for their talents.

Named the Mana Wahine Arts Symposium, 2003, the event was conceived by Waikarere Gregory and Lorna Dixon, two Maori artists living on Waiheke. The pair often found themselves together while supporting their partners at symposia. They became aware of how frequently Maori women representation at such events seemed to be lacking. There was also concern that the general view was that flax weaving was the sole area of art Maori women ventured into. So they decided to initiate a customised event. Gregory and Dixon hope its success will prompt an annual event, changing venue and artists according to the region it is based in.

The symposium aims to not only help raise the profile of Maori women in the arts but also to promote positive role modelling for youth and those interested in pursuing the arts.

Says Waikarere Gregory: “the Symposium is not intended to be exclusive, but exactly the opposite, as inclusive of all who want to support our mahi (work).”

Funding from a number of organisations is enabling the event to take place. Thanks to Te Puni Kokiri, Creative Communities, Auckland City and the local community board on Waiheke.

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