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Whakapaipai - Jewellery as Pepeha

Whakapaipai - Jewellery as Pepeha

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  • Wed 4 Mar ’15, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Thu 5 Mar ’15, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Fri 6 Mar ’15, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Sat 7 Mar ’15, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Sun 8 Mar ’15, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • View all sessions


Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Ave, Christchurch


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Free Admission

Whakapaipai means to ‘make beautiful, to adorn’. Whakapai, meaning to revise, to improve, to bless, to set as in a table and strengthens these ideas to a core Māori value - taonga tuku iho, to pass to the generations that follow. The function of these works is made clear in the term pepeha, meaning to announce, distinguish, identify and locate. Whakapaipai - Jewellery as Pepeha, therefore, is located in whakapapa (genealogies), in whenua (the land), in the legacies of belonging, of sustenance, and in the spirit of continuum - taonga tuku iho.

The contemporary adornments make an unexpected response to a series of silver bromide photograms and cyanotypes. These imaging processes produce negative silhouettes that record the space around an object. The resulting images reflect the spirit of taonga tūturu o Te Waipounamu (treasured historical objects of the South Island) that have touched the photosensitive paper and been exposed to light. A negative shadow of the object is achieved and a sense of ‘memory’ of and about the object is suggested. The artworks lift easily into the context of this time; of light and promise – taonga that are treasured, reviewed, and set forth as the artist’s personal journey of return. This work, Whakapaipai - Jewellery as Pepeha, is the vessel that carries these ideas forward.

Areta Wilkinson descends from Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke and Ngāti Irakehu, sub-tribes of Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Mamoe and Waitaha - the principal Māori tribes of Te Waipounamu (the South Island of New Zealand). In this exhibition, the artist translates the enduring knowledge of this heritage into a modern Māori worldview.

Picture credit:Hine-Āhua, 24 carat gold (Tai Poutini), 22 carat gold, legal ribbon, muka. Areta Wilkinson. H85mm x W60mm x D2mm, 2013.

Huiarei (toggle), 24 carat gold (Tai Poutini). Areta Wilkinson. H32mm x W57mm x D1.5mm. 2013. Photo credit: Studio La Gonda

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