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Main Gallery

Tepeke Koura

23 June 2007 - 21 July 2007

Julie Kipa, Rangi Kipa, Lawrence Pook, Glen Skipper, Wi Taepa, Kereama Taepa, Tina Hurihia Wirihana

Karl Chitham

Matariki has traditionally been viewed by Maori as a time for change, movement and the coming together of the spiritual and physical worlds. Tepeke Koura is a trans-alliteration of ‘the coal sack', a mariner's term for the Matariki or Pleiades constellation. The artists in Tepeke Koura sit in a space between Te Kore (the nothingness) and Te Aomarama (the light), drawing on all aspects of contemporary and customary art practice and the traditions of both Maori and Western European cultures.

With the influence of tradition and narrative upon contemporary Maori object makers, it has become increasingly important to focus attention on how artists have interpreted the knowledge and accomplishments of the past to inform current practice. Katy Tua writes in her catalogue essay, ‘Tepeke Koura relates not only to the complexities of navigating contemporary indigenous practices but also demonstrates the way in which contemporary Maori makers are unable to shake the inherent links their practice has to customary craft and design tradition.'

The makers in this exhibition employ a diverse range of media and influences. Works range from exquisitely crafted musical instruments in native timber by Glen Skipper, which sit alongside Rangi Kipa's contemporary carvings in resolutely modern man-made materials such as Corian. Kereama Taepa has created digital Pare (lintel forms) to be worn as t-shirt mounted Taonga (treasures), while Tina Wirihana extends the meanings and associations of Raranga (weaving) practice to be re-interpreted in Western sculptural conventions.

All the artists featured in Tepeke Koura are currently based in and around Whakatane. All have had involvement with Te Whare Wananga O Awanuiarangi, a community institution which encourages a strong relationship with the arts through education and Tikanga Maori. The artists featured are Tina Wirihana, Kereama Taepa, Julie Kipa, Glen Skipper, Wi Taepa, Lawrence Pook and Rangi Kipa.