Visible (and Invisible) Voices


event Details

Visible Voices presents a Tongan lens on John Webber drawings (takohi) and images ('ata) of early European contact with Tonga (c. 1784).

We are excited to host a research presentation by Hūfanga Dr ‘Ōkusitino Māhina followed by a panel discussion in response to his learnings and findings.

The panel will be facilitated by our Learning and Outreach Programme and Visible Voices Project Manager, Iokapeta Magele-Suamasi and includes: Senior Curator New Zealand and Pacific Art, Ron Brownson; Fakakaukau / Fakamaau Koloa – Thinking / Collating Tongan Treasures, Hikule‘o Fe’ao-moe-Ako Melaia Māhina and Lagi Maama Consultants, Toluma‘anave Barbara Makuati-Afitu and Kolokesa U. Māhina-Tuai.

This talanoa 'uhinga critically looks into the drawings (takohi) and images ('ata) by Captain James Cook's expedition artist John Webber during the early contact with Europe around 1784.  As a tāvāist critique, these takohi and 'ata will be explored through a Tongan lens; Tongan ways of knowing and of doing, and relating to: what is art, what is art for and what does art mean?

The presentation will be followed by a Talanoa (talking critically yet harmoniously) by Hūfanga and the panellists and will finish with a Q&A with the audience.

About Hūfanga, Dr ‘Ōkusitino Māhina, PhD:
Professor of Philosophy, Anthropology & Art, 
Vava‘u Academy for Critical Inquiry & Applied Research (VACIAR), Vava‘u, Kingdom of Tonga & Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. 
Professorial Fellow,
Va Moana/Pacific Spaces Inquiry & Research Cluster - Marsden Project,
Auckland University of Technology (AUT) - City Campus, Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Artwork credit:
John Webber, John Hall, Samuel Middiman, 'The Natche, a Ceremony in Honour of the King’s Son, in Tongataboo', 1784. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2007. 

Auckland Art Gallery Auditorium