Art & creativity  |  27 May 2020

A giant-sized painting has been created on the eastern outer wall of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetū.

Designed by Kelcy Taratoa, Te Tāhū o ngā Maunga Tūmatakahuki is 36-metres long and took two commercial painters, working to Taratoa’s design, three weeks to create.

The artwork is part of Christchurch Art Gallery’s new exhibition, Te Wheke: Pathways across Oceania, which opens on Saturday 30 May.

Best viewed from Worcester Boulevard, Taratoa’s artwork  replaces Kay Rosen's Here are the people and there is the steeple, which had occupied the eastern wall of the gallery building since 2012.

Lead curator Felicity Milburn says Taratoa’s artwork weaves together a story of exploration and connection, in line with Te Wheke’s wider themes of navigation, belonging and identity.

“Echoing the overlapping forms of the Māori art of tukutuku, this painting is about everything that binds us together, from the ocean to the stars.

“Within the painting’s abstract composition are islands, a maunga (mountain) and kāhui whetū (cluster of stars). They relate to early voyages of discovery across the Pacific and how whakapapa (genealogy) can unite people in a common kaupapa, or purpose.”

Te Wheke: Pathways Across Oceania is an immersive exhibition that explores art through our connections with the Pacific. Entry to the exhibition is free.

Watch a timelapse of the creation of Te Tāhū o ngā Maunga Tūmatakahuki.