Artist talk | Tira Walsh in kōrero with Nathan Pōhio


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Join us for some kōrero between artist Tira Walsh (Ngāti Wairere, Ngāti Hauā and Tainui) and Senior Curator of Māori Art, Nathan Pōhio (Waitaha, Kāti Mamoe, Kāi Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu, Kāti Pākehā) as they traverse the influences and themes across Walsh’s wider practice and in her most recent commission, Urbanize III.

Humming with technicolour energy, Urbanize III combines Walsh’s experiences of urban and rural environments in a freefall painterly landscape. Boldly engulfing the Gallery’s South Atrium with swathes of digitally reproduced paint, the work makes evident Walsh’s desire ‘to give the viewer’s retina a jolt, aiming to maintain a sense of rawness in [the work’s] making’. Come to this kōrero to hear more about the forces driving Walsh’s work, from galactic 80s sci-fi landscapes to the sights and sounds of Tāmaki Makaurau.

Urbanize III, 2023 is generously funded by Auckland Contemporary Arts Trust.


South Atrium
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Tira Walsh is a painter of Ngāti Wairere, Ngāti Hauā and Tainui descent based in Onehunga, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. In 2021, she was awarded the Karekare House Artists Residency in the

Waitākere Ranges. Following this experience, Walsh swapped the typically intense, urban-inspired colours of her works for deep blacks that evoked the immensity of night in Aotearoa New Zealand’s native bush. Now inspired by both her residency at Karekare and the sci-fi classic film, Tron (1982), Walsh returns to her vibrant palette, with Urbanize III, 2023, combining her experiences into a singular scene rendered at an architectural scale in technicolour.


Nathan Pōhio (Waitaha, Kāti Mamoe, Kāi Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu, Kāti Pākehā) is Senior Curator, Māori Art at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. A graduate of the film programme at Canterbury University’s Ilam School of Fine Arts, Pōhio is an artist and a curator. Before starting his role at the Gallery, he was at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū from 2002–2021, working as a technician, exhibition designer and assistant curator. During his tenure he curated significant exhibitions including Te Rua o Te Moko (2015–16), Ship Songs (2016–17), He Rau Maharataka Whenua: A Memory of Land (2016–18), Te Puna Waiora: The Distinguished Weavers of Te Kāhui Whiritoi (2021–22) and co-curated Te Wheke: Pathways Across Oceania (2021–22) and Ralph Hotere: Ātete (to resist) (2021). Pōhio was nominated for Walters Prize 2016 and was invited to participate in Documenta14 in Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany in 2017.