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Ngāi Tahu artists occupy CoCA for major new exhibition

Ngāi Tahu artists occupy CoCA for major new exhibition

Ngāi Tahu contemporary artists will occupy Toi Moroki Centre of Contemporary Art (CoCA) for Paemanu: Ka Nohoaka Toi Ngāi Tahu Artists in Residence (8 September 26 November), a major new exhibition by the Paemanu Ngāi Tahu Contemporary Visual Arts Trust.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu are the principal sponsor for this exhibition and Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Lisa Tumahai, says this is a great opportunity to showcase Ngāi Tahu history and Ngāi Tahu artists.

Curated by senior Paemanu artists, Ka Nohoaka Toi will take visitors on the journey of Ngāi Tahu visual expression, from rock art to the present day, and will inspire Ngāi Tahu whānui and all CoCA visitors with site-specific works, large-scale projections, and sculptural interventions that explore whakapapa (lineage) and wairua (spirit), and celebrate the vibrancy of contemporary Ngāi Tahu visual art.

“Nohoaka are important sites for Ngāi Tahu and are used when gathering kai and travelling the takiwā,” says Lisa Tumahai.

“As the name Ka Nohoaka Toi suggests, this exhibition will take visitors on a journey and deepen their understanding of Ngāi Tahu culture and identity,” she says.

Ka Nohoaka Toi involves some of the most significant artists from Aotearoa including Ross Hemera, Areta Wilkinson, Simon Kaan, Lonnie Hutchinson, Peter Robinson, Neil Pardington, Rachael Rakena, Fayne Robinson, Ranui Ngarimu, Nathan Pohio, Louise Potiki Bryant, Martin Awa Clarke Langdon, Kiri Jarden, and many more established and emerging Ngāi Tahu artists from Aotearoa and the world.

Poutokomanawa of Paemanu, senior Ngāi Tahu artist Ross Hemera says, “Guided by the tikanga of our tīpuna we consider this exhibition space as wāhi tapu. For us such locations are a place to shelter, to light our fires, to spend time between the mountain and sea, a place to tell stories, to be creative, to name, consecrate and decorate, a place of learning and teaching, a place of rejuvenation, a place of rest, a place to reflect and to dream.”

CoCA’s curator Khye Hitchcock says, “CoCA is thrilled to host the first major group show of contemporary Ngāi Tahu art in fourteen years. Paemanu have taken a holistic approach to the exhibition with a view to inspire their extended whānui and nurture the next generation of artists.

“One of the most exciting things about Ka Nohoaka Toi is the transformation of CoCA into a nohoaka. Beginning with the artists occupying the gallery prior to the exhibition opening, the gallery will be a place where visitors will be warmly welcomed and encouraged to participate” says Hitchcock.

Key works include a kōhatu mauri (essential cornerstone) installed in the gallery, amidst a live feed of images from a rock art site by Rachael Rakena; Ross Hemera’s wall drawings inspired by ancient rock art using traditional materials; and Martin Awa Clarke Langdon’s moveable platform installation – a response to the purpose-built barriers erected to protect rock art sites from damage by livestock and human visitors – mediating the viewer's perspective of sites within the gallery.

The exhibition marks the beginning of a series of collaborations between CoCA and Ngāi Tahu artists, and coincides with Te Whakataunga, celebrating 20 years since the signing of the Ngāi Tahu Deed of Settlement.

Paemanu: Ka Nohoaka Toi Ngāi Tahu Artists in Residence runs from Friday 8 September to Sunday 26 November 2017 and is accompanied by a series of public events. Admission free. Visit


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