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The Art Of Maori Weaving

The Art Of Maori Weaving

Stunning new book on weaving launched by Maori Queen in San Francisco

Over the weekend a new book about traditional and contemporary weaving, 'The Art of Maori Weaving' was launched in San Francisco as part of a series of activities around the Maori Art Meets America event. The book was written by Christchurch weaver Ranui Ngarimu and writer Miriama Evans, with photography by Norman Heke. The book was published as a partnership between Huia Publishers and Toi Maori Aotearoa - Maori Arts New Zealand.

The stunning book presents a photographic survey that traverses the concepts and values of traditional Màori weaving through to contemporary weaving practice.

Featuring some of New Zealand's foremost Màori expert weavers, The Art of Màori Weaving celebrates innovation and the development of weaving and plaiting as art forms in modern times while acknowledging the technology developed by weavers through the past centuries.

The initial impetus for this book came from Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa, the National Màori Weavers' Collective. They were keen to see the artistry of the talented weavers in their collective recognised and celebrated. The resulting product, this spectacular book, brings that talent to light. Miriama Evans and Ranui Ngarimu have written an informative text that highlights the skill and technique involved in creating each individual artwork. This is especially useful to those practising the art of Màori weaving. Those with a general interest will benefit from the overview of weaving and plaiting that supports the rest of the text.

Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, The Maori Queen, launched the book at the Yerba Beuna Center for the Arts in downtown San Francisco - the site of the current exhibition Toi Maori: Art from the Maori people of New Zealand. Dame Te Atairangikaahu gave a moving tribute to the art of weaving and the skills and talents of the weavers.

At the heart of the exhibition is The Eternal Thread - Te Mutunga a Kore, a display of weaving which has never been seen outside New Zealand. Many of the woven pieces are included in the new book. A team of weavers lead by co-author Ranui Ngarimu are demonstrating weaving techniques as part of the exhibition. Ranui also designed and led a team of weavers to create a special cloak, 'Aramoana - path across the sea', which was gifted by Dame Te Atairangikaahu to the city of San Francisco on Thursday 4th August.

The Eternal Thread exhibition will continue to travel to Salem, Oregon and Seattle, Washington before returning home to New Zealand in 2007.

Dame Te Atairangikaahu was also full of praise for a second book launched on the same occasion by exhibition Creative Director Darcy Nicholas. She stated that while his book 'The Land of My Ancestors' was a personal account it was something Maori would relate to and others could learn from. The book contains paintings and writings about the artworks by senior Maori artist Darcy Nicholas, who is also General Manager, Cultural Services of Pataka Museum in Porirua.


Photograph from the Toi Maori: Art From the Maori People of New Zealand official exhibition opening to the public - Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu (The Maori Queen) with Ranui Ngarimu (front L and R) with other weavers at Yerba Buena Opening Ceremony, San Francisco. Thursday, August 4, 2005.

PHOTO CREDIT: Ed Casati

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