Te Whare Pora embodies a house of learning and is customarily a space for obtaining knowledge pertaining to fibre arts, primarily weaving. The atua of Te Whare Pora is Hineteiwaiwa who holds authority over the arts pursued by women. We understand Te Whare Pora to be a state of being as oppossed to a physical location.
In our work Te Whare Pora the faux mink blanket is employed as a vehicle to explore customary notions of wānanga, contemporary marae styles and women's experiences. The faux mink blanket speaks of a kitsch aesthetic reminiscent of velvet paintings, once popular for their renditions of the dusky maiden. Now common on marae throughout the country, the 'minkie' has come to represent warm, plush beds within the wharenui. These blankets also act as a commentary of the current day economy; they are manufactured off-shore using synthetic materials and cater to specific markets by using identifiable kowhaiwhai patterns and the tino rangatiratanga flag.
Exhibitions: 2017 Making Space, Centre of Contemporary Art, Christchurch NZ 2014 We who live in darkness, New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, Wellington NZ 2013 Pūwawao, Aratoi, Masterton NZ 2013 Old Hall Gigs, Wellington NZ 2013 Te Whare Pora Enjoy Public Art Gallery, Wellington NZ
Kaokao is a large-scale installation that has been made by the many hands of Mata Aho Collective using industrial material to reflect and highlight the following whakataukī:
He wāhine, he whenua, ka ngaro te tangata. Without women and without land, humanity is lost.
Kaokao is a tukutuku pattern synonymous with strength, associated with both a birthing stance and a warriors stance. It is also reminisent of a military chevron used to decorate the sleeves of soldiers. Customarily although not specifically portrayed as a female art form, tukutuku are made by two people working together.
With these aspects in mind, our collective of four Māori women have chosen Kaokao as both the literal and conceptual basis to explore the portrayal of women within Māori and non-Māori wartime histories. Inspired by the 100 year commemorations of WWI, we as artists and women find history to be a site of contention and aim to expose its biases whilst portraying a desire for a restorative balance. Our work acknowledges the many wāhine who have stood in front, alongside and behind their contemporaries to care and protect their whenua and whānau.
Ki te mate ngā tane, me mate anō ngā wāhine me ngā tamariki hoki. If the men die, so too do the women and children. - Ahumai Te Paerata in the 1864 Battle of Ōrakau.
Exhibitions 2018 Signature Art Prize Singapore Art Museum, Singapore 2017 Making Space, Centre of Contemporary Art, Christchurch NZ 2015 Disrupting the Narrative Thistle Hall, Wellington NZ 2014 International Artist Initiated, David Dale Gallery, Glasgow UK 2014 Kaokao Toi Pōneke Arts Centre, Wellington NZ
Pare Kawakawa are worn by mourners who are grieving for those who have passed. This embroidery project provides a space to share a weight carried, as participants learn or teach sewing techniques whilst contributing to the work. This work commenced at the 2014 Māori Art Market and was most recently present at the D.A.N.C.E Art Club noho and subsequent exhibtion at the Whau Art Centre, Avondale Auckland July 2016.
Exhibitions: 2016 Noho 16 Whau Art Centre, Auckland NZ 2014 Māori Art Market TSB Arena, Wellington NZ
Developed for documenta 14 in Kassel, Germany, Kiko Moana is made from light-duty blue tarpaulin. Please see the following website for taniwha narratives kindly given by our friends and family.
Exhibitions: 2017 documenta 14, Kassel, Germany 2018 Oceania, Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK 2019 Océanie, Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, France
Taniwha Talesare an online collection of narratives shared with Mata Aho Collective by their friends and whanau. Conducted as a part of their research for Kiko Moana, Taniwha Tales bring light to the power of localised narratives and the mana of waterways. These narratives informed integral conceptual elements of our documenta 14 installation; taniwha as kaitiaki, taniwha as communicators and taniwha who travel.
Exhibitions 2019 The Slipping Away Gus Fisher Gallery, Auckland NZ
Tauira champions maramatanga, a journey into the world of light, understanding and knowledge. Created from industrial marine rope, it is a site-specific work designed to be anchored to the floor, weave up through the gallery wall and flow out into the front window space of The Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt, Aotearoa. The word tauira is used for a sampler, a small piece customarily made to showcase particular techniques and skills. Taking this as the title for their work, Mata Aho acknowledge the process of constantly learning together, of experimenting with new models, materials and techniques. Here you can see a range of weaving patterns such as māwhitiwhiti, a crossover stitch, translated to large scale with industrial materials. The title also describes the physical attributes of the work, as tauira raupapa is a sequential pattern and tāuira means ‘gleaming’, reflecting their concentration on light and the pathway to greater knowledge.
Still images by John Lake, installed at The Dowse Art Museum
Mata Aho Collective, Tauira at The Dowse | Time-lapse of installation
Mahuika is an installation of ten hand-sewn pennant flags made from red and yellow barrier mesh, wool and cable ties. The pennants measure 2m x 8m in size, and each represents a flaming fingernail of the Māori fire deity Mahuika, who gifted the knowledge of fire to her descendants.
Our research trip to Honolulu in 2018 coincided with Hurricane Lane. We were struck with the large amount of industrial temporary boundaries present - plastic tape, cones and mesh covered chain-line fences around vacant lots. The use of temporary barrier mesh is an ode to Mahuika and women who work to push through boundaries. We want Mahuika to be an acknowledgement of strong female leadership.
Exhibited at the Hawai’i State Art Museum as a part of the Honolulu Biennial in 2019, this installation was inspired by a taonga we spent time with in the British Museum Collection. The historical piece is a two metre long flag, made from muka, wool, feathers and bird skin. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information about the piece, but the scale and presence of this taonga moved us to develop a work that similarly affirms our self-determination.
Mahuika is installed inside the architectural archways and migrates down the outside of the building. While the red and yellow colours echo the fires of Mahuika and the lava flows of Pele, goddess of volcanoes and fire in Hawa’i, they are also an acknowledgement of the U.S. occupied Kingdom of Hawa’i. It was significant to us when we chose this site, that the flags would be visible from both the State Capitol and the Iolani Palace grounds.
Exhibitions 2019 Honolulu Biennial Hawai’i State Art Museum, Hawai’i