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Te Papa is no stranger to not-so-ordinary exhibitions – from Weta collabs, Gallipoli: The Scale of our War, Bug Lab, and Brickman’s Lego Exhibition, they now have just opened a brand new exhibition to call their own. Introducing Toi Art.
There are plenty of fantastic shows to choose from. Start by exploring two major retrospective shows by influential New Zealand artists. The Pacific Sisters are an artist collective working across fashion, performance, music, and film and Lisa Walker is a world-renowned contemporary jeweller.
Also, if you’re a lover of Picasso and Pollock-esque art, Kaleidoscope: Abstract Aotearoa, is for you. It is an exploration of colour, shapes, and patterns in the Pacific, with a spotlight on Tiffany Singh, an Auckland-based artist. Utilising Te Papa’s existing extensive art collection, Tūrangawaewae: Art and New Zealand, poses questions, narratives and viewpoints of belonging in Aotearoa.
Let’s take a closer look at our top picks, shall we?
Pacific Sisters – Fashion Activists
These Freestyle frock-rockers celebrate Mana Wahine (powerful women), cultural identities and the role they have played over the last 26 years, through their performances, art and music. The show uses the audience as models for their amazing fashion and art. The Pacific Sisters once described themselves as the Polynesian version of Andy Warhol’s factory, a constantly morphing collection of artists combining their skills to create jaw-dropping art, music, fashion and film.
Lisa Walker – I want to go to my bedroom but I can’t be bothered
“A stuffed duckling, six months of rubbish and a pearl with a fart”. Over the last 30 years, Kiwi jeweller Lisa has gone to the extreme with her displays and describes herself as a “contemporary archaeologist”. She digs up old art, fashion and photos for inspiration for her new creations. She won the world’s highest honour in jewellery in 2010 by winning the Francoise van den Bosch Award. Lisa will have her extravagant collection on display with works made from all materials she could get her creative little hands on, including copper, pounamu, Lego and eggbeaters. Lisa’s stories will be told through a virtual reality experience.
Tiffany Singh – Indras bow and total internal reflection
Tiffany has two sections that you need to check out. The first one is named after the Hindu God that used a Rainbow to defeat evil. With the bow she attempts to get us to think about the spectrum of colours in our daily life by using gemstones, spices and other natural sources of colour encased in fair-trade glass bells hanging from the ceiling by coloured ribbon floating over a salt Mandala. And, to try and get us thinking about ourselves a bit more, there is the Total Internal Reflection room. Get 30 people together, choose which colour fits the mood your in, and combine it with the rest of the people in the room. Mix and prepare for the art forms that float around you. This spectacular exhibition has something for everyone, so come and find a little bit of magic to brighten up your life.
Head of Art at Te Papa, Charlotte Davy says, “The exhibitions together give a sense of what New Zealand art is, and how it fits within the Pacific.”
The exhibition spans across Level 4 and 5 of Te Papa and is completely free so, what are you waiting for?
words by tom wilkins
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