On Sunday 8 July we were privileged to have renowned researcher and author Dr Aroha Yates Smith and her daughter Kahurangiariki Smith hosting a special artist talk discussing the development of the video game MāoriGrl in relation to Yates-Smith’s thesis Hine! E Hine! Rediscovering the Feminine in Maori Spirituality (1998).
Together they expanded on the story of Hine-nui-te-pō and other atua wāhine (Māori goddesses) presence in today’s world, the reciprocal interaction of ancestors and descendants taking care of the environment, and the relevance of atua wāhine in Aotearoa’s society today.
Here is Part One and Part Two of the Artist Kōrero: MāoriGrl in the Context of Atua Wahine that was live streamed on our Facebook page – Sunday 8 July 2018 [1pm – 2:30pm]
Two thought-provoking exhibitions honouring the natural environment will be on display at Depot Artspace from 14 to 25 July for the Matariki Festival 2018.
Forest has the Blues is a printmaking installation project that draws the unique plant life of Aotearoa into the gallery space to boldly question the limits of plant regrowth and regeneration in a high density urban environment like Auckland.
In keeping with this theme, the exhibition Whenua: Land curated by Depot Artspace Māori Liaison, Jermaine Reihana, celebrates distinctive perceptions of and relationships to whenua of artists both past and present.
6am, and the maunga wears its fading korowai of night. There are stars still and the moon at half-mast. Below us the baubled city stands to attention.
We are gathered in the arms of Takarunga, mana whenua, manuhiri, kaitiaki, community, those for whom the maunga is home, guide, companion and seer, to bless Kerr St Artspace with a new name, Whare Toi which signifies our relationship with Tupuna Maunga Authority and honours our attachment to Takarunga.
Among us are Roger Giles of the Bunker, Jan McEwan and Tania Stewart of MKWC, David Wright, Director of the Navy Museum, Council and Local Board representatives, Chris Darby, Richard Hills and Mike Cohen, TMA members Paul Puru, Dominic Wilson and Nick Turoa and Depot Artspace whanau, represented by Jermaine Reihana who speaks to the kaupapa of the Depot which brought us to Takarunga more than 15 years sgo.
Whare Toi is blessed by kaumatua Jim Rauwhero and kaikaranga caller Dolly Tai Rakena both gifted by ancestry tupuna with the whakapapa of the maunga.
Each of us follows them through the building, touching its wooden bones, acknowledging its presence on Takarunga for 7 decades or more, and its constant service to this community; as a post-war transit house for those waiting to be re-homed, as one of Auckland’s early community houses, as a youth employment centre and now as an arts hub offering arts classes and a professional development programme for creatives.
As the sun rises we share kai and some good conversation with our community of friends, old and new, and with hearts warmed and bellies content we take our leave from Whare Toi.
“It feels fitting to open my first public show during Matariki, celebrating atua wāhine, Māori knowledge and community within such a transformative time. I hope our old stories can resonate with people of all ages and backgrounds. To be able to share these stories is an honour.”
Kahurangiariki Smith is many things; fine arts student, artist, storyteller, video game developer and most importantly, advocate for indigenous art.
Her debut solo exhibition, MāoriGrl, combines installation and a role-playing platformer video game that reinvents the story of Hine-tītama /Hine-nui-te-pō, the woman who became the goddess of death in Māori mythology.
“Our previous collaboration with Auckland City Mission succeeded in deconstructing stereotypes at all levels. Homelessness is not a defining characteristic of a human being, it’s a situation some people are going through,” says Depot Artspace Creative Director, Linda Blincko. “The exhibition produced significant work. These artists have lives aside from the identity they are given. It’s important to continue to remind people of this.”
Depot Artspace is thrilled to once again host artists from the Auckland City Mission Arts Activities programme in a unique mixed-media exhibition.
Opening Saturday 23 June in Devonport, Life will feature art works from some of Auckland’s inner-city rough sleepers and marginalised people, as well as the global art exchange project, This Is Where I Live.
“More often than not, art is about pushing the boundaries, breaking the rules and exploring infinite creativity. Depot Artspace is celebrating the 2018 Auckland Festival of Photography by hosting two exhibitions that challenge its theme of Control.”