The second of the Deane Gallery Guest Curated exhibitions, Rae ki te Rae /Face to Face brings attention to the multi-faceted practice of artist / curator / kaitiaki / environmentalist Huhana Smith. This project involves Smith as both artist and curator, revealing a different curatorial model firmly based within her own research practice. The paintings in this exhibition are one outcome of Smith’s environmental / kaitiakitanga research into issues of degradation facing freshwater into the marine, in a coastal region around Horowhenua.
Smith describes her painting practice as ‘an attempt to overcome a range of disturbing research findings for lands and waterways in this region … It helps articulate and visualise place-based action, for better environmental outcomes.’
Dr Huhana Smith (Ngāti Tukorehe, affiliated to Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga) is an artist, academic and kaitiaki (environmental guardian).
She is currently Research Leader Māori for Manaaki Taha Moana (MTM) and the Horowhenua case study, a kaupapa Māori and action research project funded by Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment from 2009-2015. The collaborative research project includes specialists from Massey University's School of People Environment and Planning, Palmerston North; Taiao Raukawa Environmental Resource Unit; Waka Digital, Tauranga; Victoria University's School of Architecture and Design, Wellington, and Cawthron Institute, Nelson.
Smith was Senior Curator Mātauranga Māori at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa from 2003-2009 and her interests in museums and curatorial projects for customary and contemporary Māori visual culture continues. She is on the International Advisory Board for the Humboldt Forum, a new museum project in Berlin, Germany and for the next two years of the MTM research project, Smith and collaborators are developing an interdisciplinary, solutions-focussed exhibition on freshwater water issues with artists, designers, hydro-ecologists, water scientists and landscape architects.