Arnold Manaaki Wilson: Pou Ihi | Pou Whenua | Pou Tangata


exhibition Details

Pou (posts) are important in Māori philosophy, art and life. Their physical form relates to the realm of Tāne (the god of the forest in Māori mythology) or the natural world, and they are made from wood. Literally used as markers in the landscape to delineate land boundaries or mark special sites, pou can be carved, adorned and painted or left in their natural state.

The late sculptor and painter Arnold Manaaki Wilson developed his style of pou to draw attention to their symbolic power and multiple meanings. He also used them to address issues of sustainability and the conservation of Aotearoa New Zealand's natural resources. He was a leading light and major figure in art education, and a champion of contemporary Māori art.

This exhibition looks at Wilson's sculptural explorations of two seminal periods in his art practice. Works in the exhibition will include sculptures he made from the mid-1950s – after Wilson obtained his Honours diploma in sculpture from the University of Auckland's Elam School of Fine Arts – and the mid-1980s, giving visitors an opportunity to see and experience at first hand the development of his practice and thinking as an artist.

At the entrance to the Gallery there are three finely carved examples of pou by Wilson which take on bird forms to welcome visitors into the Gallery and act as kaitiaki or guardians. These pou and the sculptural works in Pou Ihi | Pou Whenua | Pou Tangata are among his most groundbreaking artworks.

Curated by
Ngahiraka Mason
Level 1
Free entry

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