City Gallery City Gallery Wellington

Past exhibition

Wi Taepa

23 June–5 August 2012

Wi Taepa (Ngāti Pikiao, Te-Roro-o-Te-Rangi, Te Arawa, Te Āti Awa) is a ceramicist. His new series addresses physical and cultural survival. Seven sculptures run down the centre of the gallery, symbolising a waka (canoe). The sequence begins with a manaia (a bird-like figure), representing intangible energies, such as māuri and mana. A waka pito (umbilical-cord box), celebrating new life, sits near a waka kōiwi (burial chest), representing death. There are vessels: a hue (gourd), a kumete (food bowl), and a hīnaki (eel trap). The works embody Māori collective struggles as well as Taepa’s personal experience of the Vietnam War and the continuing affects of post-traumatic stress disorder. They are the reflections of an artist, soldier, father, and environmentalist.