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January 5 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm NZDT

Exhibition Dates: 15 January – 11 February

Artist’s talk: Sunday 16 January 2pm

Stevei Houkāmau is the 2021 Toi Pōneke Visual Artist in Residence. Her uku (clay) practice is distinctive for its carved surface designs that draw upon the indigenous tattoo practices of tā moko and tātau. Ira Tangata Ira Atua springs from research into the artist’s whakapapa. By acknowledging and celebrating her whakapapa, Houkāmau unwraps narratives that will be retold through uku, projection and soundscape.

Ira Tangata Ira Atua includes four large new uku works in the artist’s Whakapapa series – Houkāmau has hand built and carved over 200 seed forms which represent ipu (vessels) and act as extensions of us as a people. Each seed is a unique shape and individually carved with Māori and Pasifika inspired patterns which reference the artist’s whakapapa. In her practice, Houkāmau explores vessel forms as both literal and metaphorical containers, with markings forming a visual language encoded with knowledge and genealogy. Ira Tangata Ira Atua also includes a series of carved sculptural vessels and a collaborative installation with moving image artist Jamie Berry that draws out connections between whakapapa and whenua.

In her uku works, Houkāmau acknowledges the revival and reinterpretation of the ways of Māori tīpuna in Aotearoa. Like the whakataukī Kia whakatōmuri te haere whakamua – I walk backwards into the future with my eyes fixed on the past, Houkāmau emphasises the importance and relevance of whakapapa in our lives.

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Stevei Instagram: @ukumad

Jamie Instagram: @jamie_berry_artist

Nau Mai Haere Mai

Ngā Mihi


January 5
8:00 am - 5:00 pm NZDT