curated by Megan Tamati-Quennell and Paora Allen
29 June - 19 July
Haukāinga, True people/Home
Haukāinga, True people/Home is a curated exhibition drawn from the Wellington City Council’s City Art Collection. Unashamedly Wellington-centric it is a show of two emblematic halves. One part of the exhibition is made up of art works made in response to Wellington as a city, a place, a creative site and featuring images of iconic Wellington people, landscapes, cityscapes and buildings past and present. The other art works included are made by Wellington based artists, artists who call Wellington home. Home can be a physical place. The place where someone lives, their place of residence, their dwelling, abode, their shelter or base. It can be a refuge, a place of peace, privacy, security. Home can be the place where people rest, renew themselves and where they are can be unguarded, can relax and be their true selves. Conceptually, home can be interpreted as an idea, a notion, a feeling, a memory, something you carry with you. The idea of home can be manifest as a set of people, a sense of belonging, a source of power, a place of retreat, a haven. Home can be the foundation from which to negotiate the world.
Curated by Megan Tamati-Quennell as an independent curator and Paora Allen of Toi Pōneke, Haukāinga, True people/Home is their offering for this year’s Matariki, the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades, that rises in mid-winter and which for many Māori, heralds the start of a new year. The two historical works in the exhibition, the 1854 painting - Portrait of Te Puni by Charles Barraud and the 1893 Wellington Harbour by Thomas Merrett were chosen to be the pou of the exhibition, the central posts of the metaphorical house. Te Puni and Wellington Harbour ground the exhibition and anchor it. They are art works that speak to this place in a specific way. Their inclusion is both an acknowledgment by the two curators of the significance of the mana whenua of Wellington and a tribute to them. A deep held belief rather than a gesture, as relayed through the exhibition title, their inclusion highlights the importance of the mana whenua of any locality and the innate culture and history ‘of place’ that the mana whenua successively carries and upholds.
The curatorial concept of Haukāinga, True people/Home also affirms the importance of artists, the creative energy they bring and their role in the life a city. Artists featured in the show include Simon Morris, Diane Prince, Karl Fritsch, Bridget Rewiti, Lisa Walker, and others who live and work here, who call Wellington home and make a valuable contribution to the city through their work and practice. Laurence Aberhart, Joanna Margaret Paul, Les Cleveland and Andrew Ross have made works that document and acclaim Wellington. They depict and present their views of the people, landscapes, cityscapes, histories and cultures of the city. Ngataiharuru Taepa and Hariata Ropata Tangahoe have whakapapa relationships with the city. Both belonging to Te Atiawa, the mana whenua or haukāinga of Wellington, their ancestral connections and links exist as embodied knowledge and as oblique trace and reference within their art.
If the historical art works ground the exhibition, the selected contemporary art works open the exhibition out. They provide the hā, the breath, essence or life within ‘the house’. Haukāinga, True People/Home highlights that dynamism discernable through the artists’ practice and the imagery and ideas presented within their work. Developed particularly for this auspicious time of the year, with the notion of abundance that Matariki personifies, Haukāinga, True people/Home is a salute to art and artists and the ecology of art in Wellington with the city home to a number of art, design, film schools, art collections and art galleries.
Haukāinga, True People/Home, a small offering for Matariki using the Wellington City Council’s City Art Collection, is a celebration of Wellington, a celebration of art, history and culture and a celebration of the city - the place we call home - as a creative site.
nā Megan Tamati-Quennell