Manawa Taki - The Pulsing Heart


Media Release: April, 2005. 

A new exhibition at the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery celebrates the vibrancy of contemporary Māori art.

Manawa taki brings together a group of contemporary Māori artists from the Wellington region or with affiliations to Wellington iwi, showcasing recent work by Chelsea Gough, Hemi Macgregor, Matthew McIntyre-Wilson, Rachael Rakena, Ngataiharuru Taepa, Taika Waititi and Wayne Youle.

Artwork in the show ranges from short film to woven metal sculptures, demonstrating the diversity and energy of contemporary Māori visual culture.

In Walters Park, Wellington, Wayne Youle offers a proposal for a public sculpture. In his diorama, miniature figures can be seen strolling around or contemplating a massive rendition of an abstracted koru shape, of the type made famous by modernist New Zealand artist Gordon Walters, whose paintings Youle often references. Youle says of his work: “Quite simply, I thought it would be great to sit under a one hundred and sixty foot Walters’ koru and eat fish 'n' chips.”

For Manawa taki, Matthew McIntyre-Wilson has made a selection of new works which extend his jewellery-making practice. McIntyre-Wilson’s small, delicately-tough sculptures are constructed out of woven copper strands: he has made three kete (a bag, normally woven out of flax) and a hïnaki (a traditional woven eel-trap) for the exhibition.

A highlight of ‘Manawa taki’ is the inclusion of Taika Waititi’s Oscar-nominated short film Two Cars, One Night. In this tale of first love, two boys and a girl meet while waiting for their parents in the carpark of a rural pub. As what at first seems to be rivalry develops into close friendship, we discover that love can be found in the most unlikely of places. Waititi says of his film: “There are a few moments in childhood that have a lasting impact. Not because they change the course of your life, or because they arrive with any great fanfare, in fact quite the opposite. Those are moments where an unexpected joy is found in the everyday, a moment of beauty in the ordinary. Two Cars, One Night captures one of those brief moments.”

Manawa taki also features a sleeping bag reconstructed by Chelsea Gough out of old world maps; a painting by Hemi McGregor that references both the ‘black monk’ of American modernism, Ad Reinhardt, and tiki figures; a still photograph from a recent work by moving-image artist Rachael Rakena and a painted pou (post) by Ngataiharuru Taepa.