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The power of collective action on show at Pātaka


Anton Forde, Te Kotahitanga o Whakamaru/The Unity of Protection, 2022.

The winter season at Pātaka Art + Museum opens on Saturday 22 June with new exhibitions showing what can be achieved when art and collective action collide.

Papare – an installation by Waiheke Island artist Anton Forde – features 81 carved, wooden contemporary pou. These will appear as sentinels in the gallery, representing a call to action to safeguard our natural environment.

Each pou has been carved almost identically, with differences in head shape and inclination. They each wear pounamu and carvings displaying a connection to taiao and natural systems that have sustained humanity.

Opening alongside this on Saturday is Red Wave, Blue Wave, an exhibition featuring artworks from two artists collectives from the Oceania Centre in Suva, Fiji, on display for the first time in Aotearoa.

Creating art founded on Pacific academic Epeli Hau’ofa’s critique of colonial views of the Pacific region, the Red Wave Collective uses art to affirm the interconnectedness and diversity of the Pacific.

Out of the success of the Red Wave Collective, the Oceania Centre has supported a new wave of visual artists, forming the Blue Wave Collective, with its art encouraging protection of our seas.

The artist collective Na Tolu – also from Fiji – has an exhibition of photographs, masks, body adornments and the first ulu cavu (hair wig) made in more than 200 years. Named Ulumate, the word means ‘dead head’ and describes the ancient practice of wig-making by iTaukei (indigenous Fijians).

“Each of the exhibitions highlight the importance of collective action – for the protection of our environments and the protection of our cultural heritage,” says Pātaka Lead Curator, Ioana Gordon-Smith.

“Featuring artists from Taranaki and Tāmaki through to Tonga, Fiji and Papua New Guinea, these shows celebrate the shared concerns that connect our region.”

On your next visit to Pātaka, make sure you also check out the Ngāti Toa exhibition Whiti Te Rā before it closes in October.

18 Jun 2024