Te Haerenga | A conversation with Shane Cotton


event Details

Honoa ki te hono tawhiti ka kitea ai ki nga ringatoi Māori o enei rā. | Connect to the ancient past and see it through contemporary Māori artists.

In the exhibition Te Haerenga | The Passage, artist Shane Cotton offers a meditation on the theme of journeying in historical European, contemporary New Zealand and Māori art. Situated in the historic Mackelvie Gallery, this installation traverses the geographic and temporal to chart an ever-shifting and open-ended journey that considers various cultural associations to the land – its containment, colonisation and ownership. In this regard the waka is both the vessel and the catalyst for journey and contemplation.

Journey with the artist and Senior Curator of International Art, Sophie Matthiesson as they explore the significance of vessels like the one central to the exhibition design, Te Puawai (pictured). During their midday conversation, they’ll explore the curatorial thinking behind Te Haerenga | The Passage.

The Passage is a part of Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art. Click here to learn more about the full exhibition. This a free event for Gallery Members.


Shane Cotton (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Hine and Te Uri Taniwha) painting practice examines Māori and Pākehā cultural histories to prompt conversations about nationhood and biculturalism, often referencing early nineteenth-century Māori folk art and its intersection with Christianity. In 1988, Cotton was the Frances Hodgkins Fellow at the University of Otago; in 1999 he was awarded a Te Tohu Mahi Hou a Te Waka Toi/Te Waka Toi Award for New Work; and he became an Arts Foundation Laureate in 2008. As part of Toi Tū Toi Ora, Cotton recently created the permanent, five-storey artwork Maunga on the Excelsior Building on Commerce St, Britomart.

Sophie Matthiesson is Senior Curator of International Art. She has more than 20 years’ experience as a curator and educator in England and Australia including Curator of International Art at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2007-2019). In her role at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Sophie develops and manages the Gallery’s historical and modern international collection, including the Mackelvie collection.


Image credits:

Shane Cotton Te Puawai, 2020, courtesy of the artist.



Mackelvie Gallery
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