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Weaver awarded Washington residency

21 February 2006

Weaver awarded Washington residency

Bay of Plenty weaver Christina (Tina) Hurihia Wirihana (Ngäti Maniapoto - Raukawa, Ngäti Pikiao) has been awarded a three month residency to the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.

The pilot residency "Toi sgwigwial TXW", a new initiative from Te Waka Toi, the Màori arts board of Creative New Zealand, has a strong focus on interaction with Native American artists and will be based at the college's Longhouse Education and Cultural Center. A 'longhouse' is the Native American equivalent of a Màori wharenui.

Te Waka Toi chair Elizabeth Ellis said Wirihana was an artist who was steeped in traditional weaving techniques and not afraid to use that knowledge in an innovative use of contemporary materials.

"Two years ago, we recognised her work by awarding Tina Te Tohu Mahi Hou o Te Waka Toi (Te Waka Toi's new work award) for her exhibition Whakapätari - Challenging. which explored new ways of weaving using industrial materials," Ms Ellis said.

"She was also part of our delegation to the 9th Festival of Pacific Arts in the Republic of Palau and her work is included in the high profile exhibitions Te Aho Mutunga Kore/The Eternal Thread (currently touring North America) and Te Manawa in Vancouver.

"We are delighted that a weaver of such high calibre put herself forward for this residency and her selection is also testament to the value we place on our weavers and their artform.

"Tina is also a highly regarded teacher and mentor and that will be invaluable during the residency where she will be passing on her skills and knowledge to Native American artists," Ms Ellis said.

Wirihana, who works as Senior Lecturer in Art & Visual Culture at Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi in Whakatane and is a licensed user of toi ihoTM the mark of authenticity and quality for Màori art. She says the interaction with indigenous artists from other cultures gives an artist a valuable insight into the origins of artforms. In particular she was looking forward to researching her hosts' traditional dying processes and drawing parallels with the traditional Màori dyeing processes.

"The subtle earthy colours that I have seen incorporated into the various vessel forms by Native American basketmakers are so familiar to the shades used in the taniko process when making kakahu.

"The residency will enable me to achieve an honest perspective of the North American First Nations People, through history, culture and the arts. The opportunity to achieve this will be to visit reservations, attend traditional ceremonies and engage in the collaboration of art making."

The residency will run for three months from late March.


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