Ngā Hau Ngākau takes place at Expressions Whirinaki in Upper Hutt until early September.
An exhibition combining intricately carved taonga pūoro, light paintings and a soundscape is presented through Matariki.
Ngā Hau Ngākau, which takes place at Upper Hutt’s Expressions Whirinaki Art and Entertainment Center on Fergusson Dr, is free to the public until September 6.
Curator Christina Doherty-McGregor says the exhibit was first developed for a gallery in Nelson and combines the work of three different artists: Robin Slow, Brian Flintoff and Bob Bickerton.
Slow, a painter, has created a “beautiful” piece of Maori symbols and birds, which Doherty-McGregor says is a general theme throughout the immersive exhibit.
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Flintoff, a well-known sculptor, also exhibits several Maori bone sculptures and instruments, some of which are made of ostrich bone.
Bickerton has set up the soundscape that plays out throughout. “It comes together, it’s more of an installation than an exhibition,” says Doherty-McGregor.
It opened to the public when the gallery came out of the Covid-19 lockdown in late May. A lady had already gone three times and was coming back for a fourth, she said. “People love it … [it’s] a little nicer I guess exhibits with works of art on the wall … [it’s an] to live.”
Slow’s canvas works use luminous paint and incorporate fine details and patterns.
It’s a fitting show for Matariki, which begins this year on July 13, Doherty-McGregor says.
“A lot of it is … whakapapa and kaitiaki [and] whanaungatanga … [there’s a] a lot of symbolism.
Ngā Hau Ngākau – the name of the exhibition – means “my breath”.
The gallery says it is a reflective and collaborative exhibition, perfect for local audiences and those from out of town who wish to explore ideas of harmony, memory and storytelling through sculpture, painting and sound.
It focuses on the role of the manu (birds) as messengers in Maori mythology, which connect the spiritual and physical realms.
The exhibition space is designed to resemble a wharenui or a meeting house.
“Ngā Hau Ngākau reflects the multisensory ways in which memory is anchored across generations,” said a spokesperson for the gallery.
“Creating bridges between space and time, Ngā Hau Ngākau’s works break down barriers between past and present through the layering of traditional and contemporary tools and techniques to reflect the continuum on which we exist with our world and our history. “
The artists involved in the exhibition say that the kaupapa had to work together to link narratives that celebrated the forms and stories of whenua, or earth.
“These stories can be expressed by a spiral, a kowhaiwhai, a bird song, a sculpted form, a woven kete – any symbol that can reflect the understandings and / or land connections of the receiver / beholder / listener.”