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Toi Māori Celebrated In San Francisco

Date: 13 October 2008


Toi Māori Celebrated In San Francisco

San Francisco residents who visited the Toi Māori exhibition at the de Young Museum in San Francisco this past weekend (10 – 12 October) had not forgotten the iconic image of the Māori waka sailing under Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in 2005 with Māori Art Meets America.

The exhibition of contemporary Māori art, which included works for sale from some of Aotearoa's top Māori artists, was a collaboration between Toi Māori Aotearoa, Pataka Museum and the de Young Museum. The three-day event involved an exhibition supported by taa moko, gallery talks, a presentation of Māori garments and weaving demonstrations. The event is a part of Toi Māori Aotearoa's strategy to build on the relationships created in 2005 and to open new markets for Māori artists in America.

Toi Māori Chairperson, Waana Davis said the foundations for exhibiting Māori art at the de Young Museum were laid in 1985 when Te Māori was shown at the institution. Although the museum is in a new building, the realtionship is strong and is one that both parties are keen to continue. John E. Buchanan, Director of the de Young Museum was eager to support the continuation of the link between Māori art and the museum.This was "the first of many projects that will reintroduce Māori back to the museum", he said.

Toi Māori's return to San Francisco was also celebrated by the Ohlone Native American tribe who welcomed the Aotearoa delegation to the de Young Museum. Weaver Kohai Grace will be the artist in residence until 22 October working alongside Native American Mono weavers. "This is an exciting opportunity for me as an artist to share ideas and artforms with other indigenous weavers and also visitors to the museum. My experience here so far has been that people are extremely interested to learn more about Māori art and culture", said Kohai.

Darcy Nicholas, Director of Pataka Museum in Porirua said that the event is important as a vehicle for promoting the profile of Māori art in the United States. "We need to nurture the relationships that we have in America. There is a huge interest here in the vitality and quality of Māori art".


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