A trio of New Zealand's most acclaimed contemporary Maori artists have combined to create a visual symphony in a new Te Manawa exhibition, Whakawhiti Aria: Transmission.
About 200 people packed into Te Manawa last week for the opening by Sir Mason Durie and to feast their eyes on works by Israel Birch, Shane Cotton and Robert Jahnke.
The exhibition hinges upon the idea of ‘transmission' or ‘whakawhiti', something being transmitted or exchanged from one person or thing to another.
Sir Mason said having three artists of such high calibre in the same room at Te Manawa working together demonstrated precisely what the exhibition meant.
"It's an opportunity to celebrate New Zealand's cultural identity, and the works reflect New Zealand's state of evolution."
It was also an example of cultural creativity, he said.
Jahnke is professor and head of the School of Maori Studies and co-ordinator of Maori Visual Arts at Massey University.
Cotton received a Laureate Award from the Arts Foundation in 2008.
He was made an officer of the NZ Order of Merit, for services to the visual arts, in this year's Queen's Birthday honours.
Birch has combined teaching at Massey University on the bachelor of Maori visual arts programme with working as a fulltime artist.
His art involves grinding and carving into steel, using many layers of pigment and lacquer to achieve highly polished surfaces.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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