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Art Exhibition to “Tell Tails” from New Zealand History

Art Exhibition to “Tell Tails” from New Zealand History


A new art exhibition ‘Tell Tails’ at the Alexander Turnbull Library promises visitors an exciting journey through New Zealand art and artefacts, old and new.

The exhibition includes original colonial material from the Turnbull collections alongside new works from prominent New Zealand artists Christine Hellyar, Jo Torr and Maureen Lander.

Tell tails are the trailing feathered wind indicators on Maori canoes and kites. They are the inspiration for the artworks, which document the winds of change during colonisation.

As the name also suggests, each of the artworks in ‘Tell Tails’ embodies a unique and fascinating story.

‘Hariata’s War Garb’ by Maureen Lander recreates the clothes worn by Hariata Rongo in Joseph Merrett’s 1846 watercolour, ‘The Warrior Chieftains of New Zealand’. Hariata was the wife of Hone Heke and a fierce warrior in her own right. She led many war troops through battle, often wearing a tartan skirt, red jacket and blue bonnet adorned with red feathers.

‘Red Cloud’ by Christine Hellyar, made from dozens of silk handkerchiefs, neckerchiefs, serviettes and chains of ribbon, was inspired by a drawing made by William Ellis on Cook’s third Pacific voyage, which showed Tahitian people wearing European neckerchiefs.

Jo Torr’s ‘Moemoea’ is an embroidered coat that mimics those worn by Tuai and Titere, two young chiefs from the Bay of Islands who were among the first Maori to visit England, in the early 1800s. Their portraits, painted by James Barry in 1820, will be on display.

The exhibition opens in the Turnbull Gallery on Monday 25 May. The artists will give a free public talk in the gallery at 12.10pm.

Details are available through the National Library website http://natlib.govt.nz/events.

The exhibition runs from 25 May to 14 August 2015 in the Turnbull Gallery at the National Library building, corner of Molesworth and Aitken Streets, Wellington.


Ends

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