Wanting a breath of fresh air and a stroll, I quickly change into more appropriate clothing, jeans with jacket, boots and head out the door before the weather changes once again. With no planned direction whatsoever, I turn left.
After a block or two, I decide to visit a favourite haunt, the local Art Gallery. To be honest, there isn’t much else happening here at the moment. The city is going through some significant changes, businesses are leaving in droves, and the homeless are claiming the shop entrances as their own. Who can blame them on a wet winters day? Homelessness is still hard for me to digest when it is happening in Aotearoa. I got used to it in other countries just not here. Admittedly, I thought, we have a welfare state to support those in need. Obviously, life here has become decidedly harsher than I remember.
Up I climb the stairs to view the new art exhibitions.
Firstly, I bypassed Ahsin Ahsin’s “Neon Utopia” as it was a work in progress, I will return at a later stage to view it.
A celebration of Matariki
Matariki is the Maori name for the star cluster also known as the Pleiades. In the last few days of May or first days of June each year, we can observe Matariki rise in the north-eastern horizon just before dawn. The first new moon following the rise of Matariki is the first day of the Maori New Year.
Matariki is a particular time in the Maori calendar with a focus on festivity, and an excellent opportunity to learn about the many facets of Te Ao Māori.
Hā – meaning Breathe
Lewis Tamihana Gardiner is a multi-award-winning pounamu artist who is attracted to working with Jade for its solidity, beauty and ancestral connection.
“It is not one’s designation in life to replicate what has gone since, but rather to capture the essence of what has been before in order to expand on what is to become, this is the essence of hā. Tihei Mauri Ora.”
Mātiro – Loving Gaze
This exhibition is the first survey of black and white photography by Tauranga-based Kapua Joy Bennett. For more than three decades, Kapua was a prolific photographer capturing thousands of images from quiet domestic moments, portraits, street scenes, protests and Māori communities.
Blood Water Earth
This exhibition is an immersive video installation and ceramic display arising out of an Indigenous international collaboration between Kahyen’kehaka artist Santee Smith [Artistic Director of Kaha: wi Dance Theatre, which focuses on the reawakening of the sacred feminine and incorporates imagery from both Aotearoa and Six Nations of the Grand River, Ontario, Canada.
The work activates sacred alignments from cosmos to the womb, its symbolic ritual renewal, and a conscious stripping away of colonial impacts on Indigenous women.