The 1950s witnessed the rise of the first generation of Fine Arts trained Māori artists. This young group represented a radical turning point in Māori art as they consciously broke away from the traditional carving practices of their forebears to create new carved and painted expressions about their Māori heritage. They fused a unique understanding of Māori knowledge and cultural narrative with that of Western Fine Arts learning and practice.
Māori creation narratives and the relationship of people to the whenua (land) are told through the ideas, mediums and techniques of the times in which they lived. The artists whose work is on display in this exhibition were greatly influenced by the modernist art movement, and particularly by sculptors Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Constantin Brâncuși. This influence is seen in the pared-back simplicity of the human form and evident in the piercing of forms where ‘the void’ produces the weight of both positive and negative space. The works are bold, confident and explorative. Today, we appreciate these artists’ forthright artworks as the radical beginnings of contemporary Māori art.
Tīmatanga Hōu Rerekē Rawa
I nga tau o 1950 i tīmata ai te pūanga mai o te whakatupuranga tuatahi rerekē o ngā toi pukenga Māori. He hurihanga hōu mo tea o toi Māori i tō rātou pakarutanga mai i ngā tikanga whakairo tūpuna ki te hanga momo whakairo, uku rere kē mō to rātou ao Māori. Ka honoa e ratou he momo mātauranga Māori, tikanga Māori ki era o te akoranga me mahi o te Ao Pākehā.
Ko te mātauranga oroko hanganga me te pānga o te iwi ki te whenua e whakamaaramatia ana e nga whakaaro e nga tohu me nga ahau o te wā e noho ana rātou. Ko ngā tohunga toi e kite nei koutou i a rātou mahi i tēnei wahanga i awengia e te rōpū toi hōu, e nga kaiwhakairo nei e Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore me Constantin Brâncuși mā. Ko taua awe e kite ana i te whakaitinga ngawari o te ahua tangata me te kitea o te werohanga ahua i te waahi e hanga ana te kore i te taimaha o te wehenga o te hua me te kore. He toa, he aheia, he mahi kimi aua mahi. I ēnei rā, e whakanui ana tātou i nga mahi toi whakahirahira nei hei te tīmatanga Rerekē Rawa o te toi Māori o naianei.
- Curated by
- Nigel Borell
- Ground level