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He Waka Eke Noa 2016

He Waka Eke Noa 2016

Sorry this event has been and gone


  • Sat 7 May ’16, 11:00am – 3:00pm
  • Mon 9 May ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Tue 10 May ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Wed 11 May ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Thu 12 May ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Fri 13 May ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Sat 14 May ’16, 11:00am – 3:00pm
  • Mon 16 May ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Tue 17 May ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Wed 18 May ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Thu 19 May ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Fri 20 May ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Sat 21 May ’16, 11:00am – 3:00pm
  • Mon 23 May ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Tue 24 May ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Wed 25 May ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Thu 26 May ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Fri 27 May ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Sat 28 May ’16, 11:00am – 3:00pm
  • Mon 30 May ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Tue 31 May ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • Wed 1 Jun ’16, 9:00am – 5:00pm
  • View all sessions


Milford Galleries Dunedin, 18 Dowling St, Dunedin


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Free Admission

He Waka Eke Noa celebrates the diverse artistic voices of twelve Māori contemporary artists as well as recognising that commonalities may arise from shared experiences of indigeneity. The stories told by each artist encompass multiple cultural standpoints: there is no singular, artistic voice that represents a homogenous Māori ‘culture’. Artworks become sites where alternate histories, identities, and spaces are contested. Issues of gender, sexualities, politics, and spirituality are just a few of the narratives that are presented in the works of He Waka Eke Noa. The role of painterly abstraction, space and volume, figurative representation, and the visual experiences of light and shadow are likewise explored.

The shimmering words of Israel Birch’s Golden appear to float above a deeply recessed background, producing a holographic effect. Birch works with illusions of depth, light, and movement, and in doing so references the traditions of whakairo, which he sees as also embracing illusion as it transforms wood into an ancestor replete with living stories. His steel and lacqueur works possess a subtle visual tension between the physical actions of the artist evidenced in the whorls and ripples of the work and the mirror-polish of the surface.

In contrast to Birch, the words seen in Darryn George’s Pikiare integrated into the picture plane and function as pattern as well as text. George literally raises the letters with his dense application of paint to the surface: whereas Birch’s works imply texture within a two-dimensional plane, George creates three-dimensional ridges of paint. Painted in response to the effects of the Christchurch earthquakes, Piki is a prayer for guidance and a call to action.

Lonnie Hutchinson explicitly references the interplay of shadows in her two intricate paper panels, Light and Darkness. The pleating of the builder’s paper and delicate cutwork emphasised the sculptural qualities of the panels, whose three-dimensionality is further enhanced by the artist’s utilisation of negative and positive space in each work. Hutchinson states that “black is where Te Korekore (the nothingness) and Te Pō (the night) reside... Black is the space of infinite possibilities”. (1) The panels may also be read as oversized pages into which texts have been incised, the meanings of which are hidden in plain sight by the use of symbol and visual metaphor.

Light has always been a primary concern of Reuben Paterson’s practice and he manipulates how it plays off the surface of his glitter-paintings. The visual illusions created by colour, texture, and form are augmented by a surface which is a state of continual, shimmering flux. A similar sense of movement is seen in Zena Elliott’s paintings where traditional motifs are re-articulated with nods to modernist explorations of surface and the immediacy of street-art. Repetition of form and bold use of colour establishes an energy that pulses within the linear visual structures she employs.

Working with media ranging from stone to photography, the twelve artists represented in He Waka Eke Noa produce artworks that establish and encourage conversations that may confront and unsettle some viewers. By refusing to be pigeon-holed into any one category, embracing self-determination, and choosing what stories they wish to tell, these artists “enrich the diverse cultural textures of contemporary New Zealand art”. (2)

1. Quoted in Cassandra Fusco, “Recovering Historical Silences,” World Sculpture News, 43, 2015.
2. Jonathan Manē-Wheoki, “Resurgence of Māori Art,” The Contemporary Pacific, 16, 1995.

See website for full exhibition text.

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