Art & creativity  |  24 May 2022

The newest exhibition at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū has some of Aotearoa’s leading Māori artists embracing moving image – from slick animation to 16mm film, with an unexpected dose of karaoke.

Māori Moving Image ki Te Puna o Waiwhetū, open from 4 June – 16 October 2022, champions recent moving image art made by generations of Māori artists that puts Māori history, lived experience and radical hope at its centre.  

Co-curated by Bridget Reweti and Melanie Oliver, the exhibition is a rich gathering of works that explore time, politics, language and place, with several new commissions among them.

Māori Moving Image ki Te Puna o Waiwhetū brings together 16mm film, digital animation and 4K video, so there’s a huge variety of look and feel, and a range of creative perspectives on different issues important to Māori,” Ms Oliver says.

“A lot of what’s covered is not what you’d expect – we have subject matter ranging from World War II to the tīwakawaka bird to shoe designer Christian Louboutin.

“The exhibition is a unique alignment of forms and concepts of toi ataata – visual art – with those of ngā mahi a rēhia – performance art.”

In a Gallery first, visitors will be able to enjoy five of the works through the medium of karaoke – with a special niche set aside in the exhibition space where people can sing along to beloved tracks by Māori recording artists, set to visuals created by Māori visual artists. Taking place under a glittering disco “Pāuaball” by Terri Te Tau, this project has been developed in partnership with The Dowse Art Museum.

"Karaoke allows you as the singer to bring your own connection to a song, adding some personal flair, inflection and sweet dance moves to the performance,” Ms Oliver says.

Māori Moving Image ki Te Puna o Waiwhetū showcases the work of emerging talents and celebrated favourites: Shannon Te Ao, Luther Ashford, Jamie Berry, Robert George, Sarah Hudson, Ana Iti, Jeremy Leatinu’u, Nova Paul, Nathan Pōhio, Louise Pōtiki Bryant, Rachael Rakena, Lisa Reihana, Kahurangiariki Smith, Suzanne Tamaki, Terri Te Tau and Kauri Wharewera.

Descriptions of each work are available on request.

Alongside the exhibition, the Gallery is also launching a beautifully designed new book Māori Moving Image that includes essays and interviews with several major artists. It looks at concepts of whakapapa, whenua and whanaungatanga. Available from the Design Store located at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū and book retailers nationwide.

Pictured above: Luther Ashford Poi E 2022. Single-channel karaoke video; 3 min, 58 sec. Written by Dalvanius Prime and Ngoi Pēwhairangi; performed by Pātea Māori Club. Courtesy of the artist and the Dalvanius Prime Estate.