City Gallery

Past event

Toi Māori and Reuben Paterson’s Art on the International Stage

Saturday 3 June, 2pm

With Reuben Paterson having made the move to New York, The Only Dream Left co-curator Karl Chitham, with Racheal Rakena and Nigel Borell explores Paterson’s work through the lens of toi Māori and the global art scene. 

Paterson is often known for the use of his signature material – glitter – that beguiles viewers by harnessing the magical and transformative properties of light. Under its simmering surface Paterson’s work navigates the complexities of Te Ao Māori, globalism and the current interest in Indigenous cultural perspectives. 

Using The Only Dream Left and their own unique experience as curators and artists Chitham, Rakena and Borell will discuss the many challenges and opportunities Māori artists encounter exhibiting internationally.  

Karl Chitham (Te Uriroroi, Ngā Puhi) trained as an artist and educator, and has held curatorial roles in universities, museums and public galleries. He was curator at Rotorua Museum and Director and Curator at Tauranga Art Gallery before taking up his current role as Director of the Dowse Art Museum, Head of Arts and Culture for Hutt City. He is a trustee of Wairau Māori Art Gallery, the first dedicated public Māori art gallery nationally and has written for multiple arts publications including co-authoring the ground-breaking publication Crafting Aotearoa: A Cultural History of New Zealand and the Wider Moana Oceania. He has curated numerous exhibitions including Whetūrangitia/Made As Stars, Tohu Whakatipu, Shane Cotton: Te Puāwai and co-curating Reuben Paterson: The Only Dream Left. 

 Nigel Borell, MNZM  is of Pirirakau, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi, Te Whakatōhea tribal descent. He is a curator, writer, educator and artist specialising in Māori art in both customary and contemporary fields of research.  Recent curatorial projects include the large survey exhibition and publication Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki (2020-2021), where he was also Curator Māori art from 2015-2020, co-curating with Zara Stanhope Moa Hunter Fashions by Areta Wilkinson, for 9th Asia Pacific Triennial, QAGOMA, Brisbane (2018) and The Māori Portraits: Gottfried Lindauer’s New Zealand, to deYoung Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco (2017).  Current projects include the curatorium to Histōrias Indīgenas- Indigenous Histories at Museu de Art de (MASP), São Paulo, Brazil (2023). He is currently Curator Taonga Maori at Auckland Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira.  

Rachel Rakena (Ngai Tahu, Nga Puhi) coined the term ‘Toi Rerehiko’ to centre, claim and name digital space within a Māori paradigm. She describes and locates Māori digital/video/electronic-based art practice in terms of continuum, motion, and collaboration Known for her collaborative practice, she has been exhibiting internationally for 20 years. Highlights include Aniwaniwa, the 52nd Venice Biennale; Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art, National Gallery of Canada; Haka Peepshow, The Octagon, Dunedin; Māori Moving Image, Dowse Museum, Lower Hutt, NZ; Te Puna o Waiwhetu Christchurch City Gallery. 

Rakena is a mum of one, a founding member of Paemanu, a collective of Ngāi Tahu contemporary artists, and an Associate Professor at Massey University Whiti o Rehua School of Art in Wellington. She co-conceived/co-curates Mana Moana, a waterscreen/online platform bringing together leading interdisciplinary Māori and Pacific artists to collaborate, exploring relationships with and across the ocean, climate change, and technology through indigenous perspectives, knowledge and narratives. 

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