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'Follow the Party of the Whale' at Dunedin Community Gallery

Listing information:

Follow the Party of the Whale
Shannon Te Ao and Iain Frengley
Exhibition Runs: Tuesday 2nd – Sunday 7th July 2013
Presented by the Blue Oyster for Dunedin Puaka Matariki Festival 2013
at the Dunedin Community Gallery (20 Princes Street) daily from 10.00am – 5.00pm

For immediate release:

Follow the Party of the Whale is a site-specific multimedia installation consisting of a double-channel video with a separate, but related, sound element by collaborative partnership Shannon Te Ao (Ngati Tuwharetoa) and Iain Frengley. The exhibition, presented by the Blue Oyster for the Dunedin Puaka Matariki Festival, takes place in the Dunedin Community Gallery.

Dunedin-based Frengley and Wellington-based artist Te Ao have created a work that retraces and reinterprets a commemorative hikoi held in 1985 by local iwi. The hikoi was in remembrance of the 19th Century Māori prisoners brought to Dunedin during the conflicts between early settlers and followers of Parihaka leaders Te Whiti O Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi.

The installation reconfigures the static Dunedin Community Gallery space and builds on Te Ao and Frengley’s 2012 work, Untitled (Anderson’s Bay), which featured the caves of Anderson’s Bay carved out in the late 19th Century by displaced Maori prisoners. Their new work re-visits Anderson’s Bay and documents other sites of forced labour around Otepoti, Dunedin. Balancing what could be considered straight documentation and site-specific performance the exhibition is a meditative, confrontational and somewhat poetic body of work exploring the history and geography of Otago Harbour.

The title of the exhibition borrows a phrase from whakatauki (Maori proverbial speech) used historically by local iwi relating people of mana to the whale. The use of this metaphorical device activates alternative modes of memorialisation and celebration, creating new points of entry by connecting present-day implications to moments, people, and places of the past.

A 'closing' event will take place on Saturday 6 July at 12.00 Noon with Iain Frengley present.

Frengley and Te Ao have been collaborators for the past two years and were included in Artspace’s (Auckland) New Artist Show in 2012 and were awarded a merit award in the National Contemporary Art Award (2012) for their work Untitled (After Rakaihautu).

Thanks to PlaceMakers Dunedin and the Dunedin Puaka Matariki Festival for their support of this project.


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