Topic: Arts

'Whenua I' exhibits intergenerational talent

By Talisa Kupenga
  • Auckland

A collaboration between a kuia and her mokopuna is the latest exhibition at Papakura Art Gallery to bring together whānau to celebrate Matariki. The 'Whenua I' exhibition is based around a journey back to Te Urewera.

A grandmother-grandson duo exhibits their links to Te Urewera.

Artist Neihana Te Hauoterangi Lowe says "the exhibition is called Whenua I [said: whenua eye], whenua as in the land and I as in the Roman numeral because I am Māori and European and I wanted to bring the two together."

Artist Te Kura Rua says "He's our grandson and even though he is part Pākeha he is also a fourth-generation grandson of the Rua Kenana family."

Photography and moving image capture the story of the area while 12 woven baskets speak of family ties to Rua Kenana.

Rua says "hanging on the wall behind are his women, you might remember he had 12.

I am commemorating my grandmother Meri Te Waiarangi, how I am here today. There are 11 baskets on the wall, and I am number 12."

The importance of the environment is also discussed through Lowe's pieces, he says his ancestors helped guide his creativity to speak to the topic as shown through photos of Te Matahī Valley.

"There were seven photos that came together that formed this collation and I took the seventh out because it didn't really fit but these are the exact six that flowed together but the pictures were taken from different parts of the valley and the meaning for me was if we continue to treat Papatuanuku the way we are she will become distorted and we will no longer recognise her."

The exhibition is free and is open six days a week.