This exhibition Whakaata – Contemporary Maori Print looks to show a connection to a Maori print history. It acknowledges this place, the proximity of Pompallier House with its historic printing press and its role in communication during the time of early contact. The exhibition presents numerous voices with some of the many Maori artists who have engaged in print and contributed to a Maori understanding of printmaking over the past 60 years. Some of these include: Pauline Yearbury, Marilynn Webb, Cliff Whiting, Toi Te Rito Maihi and Clive Arlidge from this senior generation. The Toi Whakataa Maori print collective based its name on the idea of introducing ink to mark making (as in the process of Taa moko). The collective brings together a dynamic new generation of print makers that are committed to pushing new ideas in the practice. Saturday’s opening and wananga brought these two generations together in Russell Museum’s gallery.
Whakaata, the defining concept for the exhibition refers to the ‘AHAA moment’, that action when the paper is lifted; the print is pulled into the light and the reflected image revealed. Here, process and concept are intertwined.
A satellite display runs concurrently in the ‘green room’ of Pompallier Mission’s Clendon House. A selection of Pauline Yearbury’s original paintings and the first edition of her book The Children of Rangi and Papa can be viewed there.