Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Te Huringa / Turning Points

All Images Courtesy of the Fletcher Trust Collection. Captions below.
If you’re in Christchurch before February 15th make sure you get to Christchurch Art Gallery to see the very beautiful exhibition “Te Huringa / Turning Points,” Pakeha Colonisation and Maori Empowerment – an exhibition of paintings from the collections of The Fletcher Trust and Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare O Rehua Whanganui. It’s a big show that includes works by some of New Zealand’s best known artists – both Maori and Pakeha - and the diversity of style and medium represented in “the journey from early European contact, settlement and colonisation through to contemporary perspectives by 20th and 21st century artists” makes for rivetting viewing. There’s something very serene about the whole space. Adding to the multi-layered perspectives is the fact that the show took a bicultural curatorial approach. Dr Jo Diamond is of Ngapuhi Maori descent and is currently lecturer in Maori Art History at the University of Canterbury; and Peter Shaw has been curator of The Fletcher Trust Collection since 1991. Their combined approach to the exhibition catalogue presents a gentle ‘unravelling’ of the spiritual aspects of many of the works by Diamond set against Shaw’s gathering of biographical and historical facts. It’s a nice touch and one I’m sure viewers will appreciate. If you miss the show in Christchurch, it opens at Dunedin Public Art Gallery on March 13 and runs through to July.
Works shown above are all Courtesy of the Fletcher Trust Collection and are: Top: Major-General Sir Horatio Gordon Robley, Tomika Te Mutu, 1866, Watercolour; Centre: John Tole, Maori Village, Rotorua, C.1950, Oil on Board; Bottom: Thomas Allom, Mt Egmont from the North Shore of Cook Straight, New Zealand, natives burning off wood for Potato Grounds, 1841, Watercolour.

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