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Auckland Art Gallery Announces 'Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art'

Game-changing exhibition of contemporary Māori art set to open

Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art will be the largest exhibition in the 132-year history of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.

Lisa Reihana, Mahuika, 2001. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2002. Courtesy of Artprojects © Lisa Reihana with thanks to Creative New Zealand.
Robert Jahnke, Ripeka whero from the Te Ripeka series, 2015. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Patrons of the Auckland Art Gallery, 2018.

A major survey of contemporary Māori art from the 1950s to the present day is being developed by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki to open this summer.

Featuring over 300 artworks by 120 Māori artists, Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art opens at Auckland Art Gallery on Saturday 5 December 2020 and will be free to the public.

Auckland Art Gallery Director Kirsten Paisley says, ‘This ambitious intergenerational exhibition will be a spectacular celebration of the dynamic and changing expression of contemporary Māori art. Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art is monumental in its storytelling and its scale and speaks to the very core of the Gallery’s purpose as a bicultural place for the championing of New Zealand art.’

Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art considers new ways of approaching and engaging with the Māori art of the last 70 years. The Māori creation narrative provides the exhibition’s framework, highlighting its enduring resonance and the multiplicity of interpretation that artists have bought to bear on the narrative in making their art.

Auckland Art Gallery Curator, Māori Art, Nigel Borell says, ‘It is nearly 20 years since a New Zealand art institution has revisited the story of contemporary Māori art in a large survey exhibition. This moment feels timely and essential. It will stimulate critical discussion about the place of contemporary Māori art while also presenting an occasion to celebrate its vitality and uniqueness. A project of this scale and importance is a major undertaking, but it is an exhibition that I’ve been thinking about for some years and am extremely excited to now be realising.’

Ngatai Taepa, Tane Mahuta – Manos Nathan Legacy, 2015. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2016

Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art will celebrate a vast range of contemporary Māori art, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, clay-making, jewellery and body adornment, photography, digital media, film and installation art. It will also present a number of new site-specific commissions by: Mata Aho Collective collaborating with Maureen Lander; Shane Cotton; Emily Karaka; Reuben Paterson; Matekino Lawless and Christina Wirihana; Lisa Reihana; Reweti Arapere; Ngatai Taepa; Sandy Adsett; Areta Wilkinson; and more to be announced. This will be accompanied by a Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art satellite site at the Britomart precinct, developed in partnership with the Britomart Group.

The exhibition’s development has been supported by Haerewa, the Māori Art Advisory rōpu to the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Chair of Haerewa, Elizabeth Ellis, says: ‘An exhibition survey of this scale has been a long time coming in Aotearoa New Zealand and it fulfils our aspirations for the Gallery. Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art brings visibility to contemporary Māori art for Māori communities and all to celebrate and embrace.’

Exhibition details:

Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art

When: Saturday 5 December 2020 to May 2021
10am – 5pm daily except Christmas Day
Where: Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Corner Kitchener and Wellesley Streets
Auckland, New Zealand
Admission: FREE for New Zealand residents and Gallery Members

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