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New interactive exhibition opens at Auckland Art Gallery

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

This summer, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki invites you to enter the ngahere (forest, ecosystem) - and the realm of Tāne Mahuta - in a new family-friendly exhibition by artist Charlotte Graham (Ngāti Mahuta, Ngāti Tamaoho, Te Ākitai Waiohua, Ngāti Whanaunga, Ngāti Pāoa, Ngāti Kotimana).

Te Hā o Te Wao Nui a Tāne (The Breath of Tāne) presents an immersive forest as seen through Charlotte Graham’s eyes: an unfolding space of calming, uplifting pastel colours, rich textures, rippling light and playful creatures. Find ruru (owls) and tÄ«rairaka (fantails) perching in rākau (trees), feel ferns unfurling and growing, and discover insects crawling across logs and pekapeka (bats) flying out of nooks.

Visitors of all ages can make their own rub drawings of taonga (treasures) and textures found in the ngahere, which will then be pasted together to help make the korowai (cloak) of Tāne. Over the coming months, the colours of the forest will change to create a vibrant, collaborative korowai.

Te Hā o Te Wao Nui a Tāne is co-curated by Auckland Art Gallery Assistant Curators Emma Jameson and Taarati Taiaroa. The exhibition is part of the Gallery’s major new exhibition, Toi TÅ« Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art.

Emma Jameson says, ‘Charlotte Graham has created an immersive and multi-sensory experience of being under the forest canopy. Opening at the end of a year that has been fraught with anxiety and disconnection, Te Hā o Te Wao Nui a Tāne is a pertinent and beautiful reminder of the importance of outdoor space and the natural environment to our health and wellbeing. It provides a way for us to reconnect and recalibrate our relationships - with each other, with the ngahere (forest, ecosystem) and te taiao (the natural world) - in a way that triggers creatiivity and the imagination.’

Taarati Taiaroa adds, ‘Te Hā o Te Wao Nui a Tāne is an uplifting and generous artwork that offers curiosity, delight and wonder for children and adults alike. It expands upon the pÅ«rākau (narratives) of Tāne found in Toi TÅ« Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art. In so doing, it provides a means to see, touch and reflect upon our place and responsibilities within Te Ao Mārama, the world of light and life that we live in today.’

Te Hā o Te Wao Nui a Tāne is presented in Auckland Art Gallery’s Todd Foundation Creative Learning Centre and made possible with the support of the Joyce Fisher Charitable Trust, Resene and Honeysticks.

Kirsten Lacy, Director of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki says, ‘Te Hā o Te Wao Nui a Tāne marks not just the opening weeks of Toi TÅ« Toi Ora, but also the start of a holiday programme rich with art-making experiences for all the family. From free, daily drop-in activities for the whole whānau to jam-packed, art-inspired, child-care holiday programmes for kids, there is lot to entertain and enducate at the Gallery this summer.’

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