Tuesday, October 18, 2011

To Market, To Market

Over 250 Maori artists gathered in Porirua, near Wellington at the beginning of October, for the biggest-ever MAORI ART MARKet. The event brought together contemporary painters, clay and glass workers, weavers, carvers, jewellers, ta moko artists, musicians, story-tellers and film makers as part of the REAL New Zealand Festival, which has run alongside the Rugby World Cup. One of those taking part this year, was Curator for the weaving displays, Tracy Huxford (Te Atiawa/Ngati Tama), who is shown here setting up work by Rototua master weaver, Teresa Murray. Murray’s Rapaki (shoulder cape) includes turkey and peacock feathers, woven harakeke and non-traditional dyes.
Top chef, Rex Morgan (centre) was joined by two trainee Maori chefs, Thomas McBride from Porirua (right) and Graham Snelgar from Grenada (left), both students at Whitireia Polytechnic. Morgan ran cooking demonstrations at the Market, based around contemporary Maori food, which included the use of tradition favourites like titi (muttonbird) and karengo (seaweed). He also gave away the secrets to achieving the subtle hangi flavours in a contemporary way, producing food delicately infused with the mildly smoky flavours of hangi feasts on the marae. Morgan, who is a business partner and chef at Wellington’s classy Boulcott Street Bistro, is a regular on New Zealand television food shows, he’s won every major New Zealand culinary award, is the consultant chef to Air New Zealand, and he has travelled the world cooking for members of the Royal family, European presidents and the world’s rich and famous.

Jo Kingi of Omeka Leather, Dunedin has both Maori and Celtic blood, which is reflected in her range of leather bags, embellished with carved Celtic knots and Maori koru designs.

Contemporary Maori clay artist, Carla Ruka attracted the crowds with her exhibition of Maori Angel clay pieces. Auckland-based Ruka was introduced to clay as a medium back in 2000 and she’s never looked back. “I love the journey that comes from creating my visions from Papatuanuku – from the earth to the creation to the firing, everything is an exciting event and you’re forever learning,” she says.
Well known Maori artists, Para Matchitt (top, above), Bay Ridell (centre) and Barry Te Whatu were also among the wide range of exhibitors. Wellingtonian, Barry te Whatu, who is mentor to emerging artists at Weltec and a carving teacher at Te Kuru, exhibited a new body of work – Potaka, or spinning tops, made from marble and New Zealand native wood and embellished with bone and stone.

“The Maori Art market is about coming together. It’s not often we see senior artists alongside emerging artists like myself,” or that we get the opportunity to create bridges with other cultures. It’s always an honour to be invited,” he says.
In addition to local Maori artists, the market also featured works by invited international artists, among them, Dan Namingha from USA, Danny Eastwood from Australia, Filipe Toho, a New Zealand Tongan, Fat Feu’u a New Zealand Samona, documentary film maker, Peter Coates and Bunmei Okabe from Japan.  
All images supplied by the Maori Art Market.

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