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New Zealand Curators taking Māori & Pasifika Art Across the Globe

Israel Birch. Rerenga Wairua, 2021. Commissioned video installation projected onto a satellite with audio, 2100 mm diameter.
Pātaka Art + Museum Director, Reuben Friend, and Curator Maori & Pacific, Ioana Gordon-Smith, have been collaborating with curators around the world on two significant international projects.


As well as a busy programme of exhibitions and events at their own gallery, Pātaka Art + Museum Director, Reuben Friend, and Curator Maori & Pacific, Ioana Gordon-Smith, have been collaborating with curators around the world on two significant international projects, both opening on 17 July.

Naadohbii: To Draw Water, an exhibition reflecting on international Indigenous connections to water, marks the first Winnipeg Indigenous Triennial. It opens at Canada’s WAG-Qaumajuq, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, 17 July 2021 - 17 February, 2022. The tri-national curatorial team is from Canada (Jaimie Isaac, WAG), Australia (Kimberley Moulton, Melbourne Museum) and New Zealand (Reuben Friend & Ioana Gordon-Smith, Pātaka). Aotearoa’s contribution features: Israel Birch’s video installation Rerenga Wairua considers the role of the ocean in moving between realms; Nikau Hindin’s aute (bark cloth) is adorned with a visual language that doubles as star maps, used by ancestors in navigation; Jeremy Leatinu’u’s video work Taonga tuku iho is a collection of related stories about water; Nova Paul’s two moving image works, Ko te ripo and Ko ahau te wai consider the waterway Waiapao springs, the subject of a landmark Waitangi Tribunal claim;  and Rachael Rakena’s moving image installation Ahakoa he iti, references the Foreshore and Sea bed Act.

Also featuring a tri-national curatorial team, PAN: the Pan-Austro-Nesian Arts Festival opens 17 July at the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan and runs until 31 October 2021. It’s curated by Reuben Friend alongside Yulin Lee (Taiwan) and Zara Stanhope (Australia, currently Director of Govett Brewster, New Plymouth). Friend says he used the 2009 exhibition The Great Journey: In Pursuit of the Ancestral Realm, also at Kaohsiung, as a starting pointing for his curatorial thinking and selection of artists for PANThe Great Journey was co-curated by Rarotonga-NZ artist, Jim Vivieaere, who sought to locate Taiwan culturally and geographically within the Island realms of Oceania. Friend says the selected artists all share common concerns around claiming space in the present through a reclamation of the past, with increasingly grave concern for the future.  

New Zealand and Pasifika selection for PAN: Sāmoan-Japanese artist Yuki Kihara’s sculptural landscape paintings,-モアのうた (Sāmoa no uta) A Song About Sāmoa, take the form of five kimono made of siapo cloth; John Pule’s paintings reconsider customary Niuean hiapo (barkcloth) painting and printmaking through a lens of modernity—ancestral star charts and seafaring imagery give way to cloud-like island formations creating new perspectives of Oceania; and Ngahina Hohaia’s stunning audio-visual and woven fibre installation, Paopao ki tua o rangi (2009) features new technologies and digital media converging with customary practice.

Naadohbii: To Draw Water
WAG-Qaumajuq, Winnipeg Art Gallery,
17 July 2021-17 February, 2022,

PAN: Pan-Austro-Nesian Arts Festival
Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan
17 July – 31 October 2021,

Further information: 

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Written by

Pataka: Art + Museum

16 Jul 2021