Tivaevae (for Bottled Ocean), 1994 was the first patchwork quilt made by a contemporary Pasifika artist for exhibition at a public art gallery in New Zealand. Commissioned by Auckland City Art Gallery at the recommendation of curator Jim Vivieaere, this tīvaevae was a street-front addition to Bottled Ocean, the first group exhibition of contemporary Pacific art presented in New Zealand. O’Neill made Tivaevae (for Bottled Ocean) to fill the large gallery window at the corner of Wellesley and Kitchener Streets.
The tīvaevae celebrates Auckland’s summertime beach culture from a Pasifika perspective. Only when it is encountered close-up is it apparent that the artwork’s numerous geometric panels are constructed with 100% knitted cotton towel terry – a textile never previously used for tīvaevae, the traditional Cook Islands quilt. The towel terry is shown loop-side out and billows at the quilt’s base; like a much-loved and well-used extra-large bathing sheet.
Originally sited at the Gallery’s Wellesley–Kitchener Streets corner, the tīvaevae was at a confluence of foot and motor traffic. Being lit both day and night, it had an astonishing visibility and presence as a cultural signal. O’Neill noted that the work occurred at ‘a crossroads moment asking people to stop and bathe in the idea of urban pacific and Pasifika peoples at the Auckland City Art Gallery’
- Tivaevae (for Bottled Ocean)
- Production date
- cotton towelling
- 3000 x 2000 mm
- Credit line
- Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Patrons of the Auckland Art Gallery, 2019
- Accession no
- Copying restrictions apply
- New Zealand Art
- Display status
- Not on display
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