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Māori Heritage Informs Artist’s Work

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Māori Heritage Informs Artist’s Work

A strong sense of connection to her tūrangawaewae inspires Raewyn Tauira Paterson, an artist and designer of Ngāti-rere and Ngāi Tūhoe descent who teaches visual arts and design students at EIT’s ideaschool.

Raewyn’s bicultural heritage is reflected in the title of her exhibition, Koroua Whare (Home Sweet Home), which continues at Hastings City Art Gallery until Sunday, 11 March.

The exhibition extends the project she undertook for her Master of Creative Practice, which she completed last year.

Raewyn has created interior spaces which draw on Māori design elements in wallpapers and soft furnishings. Her childhood memories of her marae, she says, are the foundation from which these works grow.

“Influenced by Sandy Adsett’s design of the Tūturu exhibition held in MTG last year, I began to imagine a suburban domestic space fully immersed in visual culture that might create that sense of warmth and comfort that I feel within my wharenui back home in Waimana.

“What if the patterns were reminiscent of those within the wharenui interior? Could that trigger memory to one’s own wharenui? What might this look like? How might it make you feel?

Koroua Whare is a step towards bringing to life this imaginary scenario.”

Dr Mandy Rudge, who supervises ideaschool’s master’s students, says having the gallery show an EIT graduate’s work is “really special”.

“Raewyn is an accomplished and talented artist and her ability to work with artists in the community is outstanding.

“She has long been actively building relationships or whānaungatanga by curating diverse community exhibitions, and she has mentored emerging artists.”

Graduating with her master’s next month, Raewyn has been associated with EIT for many years. She gained her first degree, a Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design, at ideaschool, teaches certificate-level programmes in creative practice and has been an EIT-appointed Māori mentor for ideaschool students since 2010.

Her work is to be exhibited as a finalist in the Molly Morpeth Canaday Awards, a prestigious competition staged in Whakatane that attracts entries from artists nationwide.

This year’s awards competition is for three-dimensional art forms and over 230 entries were submitted. Raewyn is one of 60 finalists.
“It will be the first time some of my family members will have seen my art work,” she points out.

Caption: Raewyn Tauira Paterson – “Koroua Whare plays with scale on both literal and conceptual levels.”

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