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A Major New Art Exhibition At Te Papa

9 December 2003



Signs and Wonders | He Tohu He Ohorere, a major new art exhibition opening at Te Papa, explores how the marvels of the world's phenomena are interpreted and spiritual and supernatural experiences are expressed through art and visual culture. The exhibition contains over 160 works from Te Papa's art and taonga (treasures) collections.

Beginning with an exploration of light and colour, the exhibition moves into a symbolic world of prophecies, visitations and annunciations, and from there to art works reflecting creation and birth, the apocalypse, death, and afterlife.

Along this journey, visitors will encounter works of art and taonga that deal with supernatural portents, gods and demigods, birth and nativity, rituals, music, sacred dwellings and vestments, saints, end-of-world narratives, the Crucifixion, martyrdom, and afterlife.

The exhibition features images by European masters such as Dürer, Rembrandt, Cantarini, Blake, Rouault, Matisse, Masson, and Rossetti; and iconic works of art by major New Zealand artists such as Colin McCahon, Rita Angus, Ralph Hotere, Robyn Kahukiwa, Julia Morison, Bill Culbert, Milan Mrkusich, Gretchen Albrecht, Alexis Hunter, Ani O'Neill, Anne Noble, Robin White, and John Pule.

Some of Te Papa's greatest treasures are included such as the great mere pounamu (greenstone weapons) Kauwhata and Wehiwehi of Waikato and a chalice carved in the 1870s by the tohunga whakairo (master carver) Anaha Te Rahui of Ngäti Tarawhai to celebrate peace between peoples. Also included are revered objects such as an embroidered crucifix from medieval France, a statue of Ganesh from India, and an effigy of the Hawaiian god Ku.

During the New Zealand International Arts Festival the exhibition will be supported by a lecture series called 'Art & Belief'. Artists will talk about how their own world views and cultural beliefs have influenced their art. In addition, poetry readings will take place in the exhibition gallery during New Zealand Post Writers and Readers week.

The Boulevard Gallery, Te Papa from 17 December 2003 and until September 2004. Free entry.


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