This exhibition unpacks some of the ways we describe our past using visual languages grounded in the present and the future. Symbols can offer us an access point or a way to interpret things we don’t understand. For Māori a tohu is not only a sign or emblem; it can also act as a set of directions or wayfinders that allows us to navigate through the complexities of contemporary life.
Tohu Whakatipu explores the unique symbolism and visual languages of three of Aotearoa’s most exciting Māori artists.
Tohu Whakatipu explores the unique symbolism used by Lonnie Hutchinson, Kaaterina Kerekere and Rangi Kipa. Each artist has developed their own coding to talk about their relationships with tūpuna, whenua and rongoā. These narratives are told using new technologies and innovative adaptions of traditional forms such as kōwhaiwhai, whakairo rākau and mōteatea.
“Māori art and design are one of the key identifiers of our cultural identity and heritage. The icons, motifs and stories are unique to our whānau, hapū and iwi.” - Kaaterina Kerekere
In Tohu Whakatipu ideas of wellbeing and connection take centre stage. Whether it is through whakapapa, rongoā or the reimagining of traditional forms, each of the works in the exhibition acts as a link between past, present and future.
"Our art forms are languages and play a fundamental role in the transmission of our knowledge systems and our identity.”ii - Rangi Kipa