City Gallery City Gallery Wellington

Past exhibition

Huhana Smith: Rae ki te Rae/Face to Face

6 November 2013–26 January 2014

Huhana Smith (Ngāti Tukorehe and Ngāti Raukawa) is an artist, curator, academic, and kaitiaki (environmental guardian). Her paintings address her research into water-resource enhancement and environmental management. For instance, Nitrate Green (2008) highlights the way chemical fertilisers encourage rampant growth for stock feed but also pollute, while Waiopapa (2008) refers to water’s life-giving qualities. Smith’s latest paintings are autobiographical allegories that centre on the concept of ‘te rae’—referring both to the forehead (recognising consequences of current actions) and to headlands (a recurring motif). Of Te Rae 2 (2013), she says: ‘I was invited onto the International Advisory Team for the Humbolt Forum, a new museum development in Berlin, Germany. Travel to Europe in 2011 drew my attention to highly urbanised nature, where espaliered trees, clipped hedges and manicured gardens came to symbolise confining influences meted upon nature. The concept transposed easily to agriculturally modified Aotearoa New Zealand and Horowhenua. Archival boxes and stacks of paper represent the scoping research underway, while empty museum stands mark a transition to action research.’