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13 February 2021 —
09 May 2021

A Very Different World

Hiria Anderson, Reka Deals, 2021, Tasty Super Savers, 2021, Sonny’s Takeaways, 2021. Three digital prints on vinyl. 3 x 2400mm x 3000mm. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
Reuben Paterson, St. Francis of Assisi, 2021. Glitter on resin. 317mm x 145mm x 145mm. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by Andrew Kennedy.
Reuben Paterson, Quan Yin, 2021. Glitter on resin. 317mm x 110mm x 110mm. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by Andrew Kennedy.
Reuben Paterson, Afternoon Delight, 2017. Glitter & synthetic polymer on canvas. 1501mm x 2248mm x 37mm. Courtesy of Sarah Ash. The Best Orgasm of your Life, 2017. Glitter & synthetic polymer on canvas. 1204mm x 1207mm x 40mm. Courtesy of Tracey Moore and the artist. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
Reuben Paterson, Chasing Tail, 2017 (installation view). Glitter on canvas. 1200mm x 1200mm. Courtesy of Brasell Ojala Collection & the artist. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
Aaron Scythe, 3 to 碗-0, 2020. Porcelain & stoneware clays, clear kizeto & kuro oribe glazes, on-glaze enamels & titanium lustre, red lacquer. 190mm x 310mm. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
Aaron Scythe, 3 to 碗-0, 2020, 3 to 碗-0, 2020, 3 to 碗-0, 2020 (installation view). Porcelain & stoneware clays, clear kizeto & kuro oribe glazes, on-glaze enamels & titanium lustre, red lacquer. 190mm x 310mm, 195mm x 300mm, 190mm x 300mm. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
Arielle Walker, Distance unravelled and rewoven between / to hold a web of stories, a tapestry of pūtahi, 2020-21. Hmong hemp, cotton & silk thread. Dimensions variable. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
Arielle Walker, Distance unravelled and rewoven between / to hold a web of stories, a tapestry of pūtahi, 2020-21 (detail). Hmong hemp, cotton & silk thread. Dimensions variable. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
Kereama Hohua, Hoki Whenua Mai, 2021. Mataī & kokowai. 1675mm x 350mm x 155mm. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
A Very Different World, 2021 (installation view). Curated by Ngahiraka Mason. Works by Kereama Hohua, Arielle Walker, Hiria Anderson & Aaron Scythe. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
Dion Hitchens, Te Haa, the Breath, 2020. Installation with mild steel, stainless steel, electronics. Components & dimensions variable. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
Dion Hitchens, Te Haa, the Breath, 2020. Installation with mild steel, stainless steel, electronics. Components & dimensions variable. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
A Very Different World, 2021 (installation view). Curated by Ngahiraka Mason. Works by Elliot Collins (left) and Lisa Boivin. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
Lisa Boivin, Discovering Gratitude as the World Falls Around You, 2020 (installation view). Digital collage photograph. 643mm x 795mm 35mm. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
Elliot Collins, from the series I Hope This Finds You, 2020 (installation view). Pigment ink on cards. 7 x 148mm x 210mm. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
Elliot Collins, from the series I Hope This Finds You, 2020 (detail). Pigment ink on cards. 7 x 148mm x 210mm. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
Hiria Anderson. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
Hiria Anderson, Empty Seat, 2021 (installation view). Oil on canvas. 235mm x 290mm x 55mm. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
Hiria Anderson, Reka Deals, 2021, Tasty Super Savers, 2021, Sonny’s Takeaways, 2021. Acrylic on plyboard. 3x 1535mm x 1237mm x 55mm. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
A Very Different World, 2021 (installation view). Curated by Ngahiraka Mason. Works by Hiria Anderson, Visesio Siasau & Russ Flatt. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
Visesio Siasau, Mānava ʻOfa, Breath of Compassion, 2020 (detail). Wood, oil, polished perspex. Dimensions variable. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
Russ Flatt, Blessed, 2019 (installation view). Inkjet photograph on Iilford rag. 1158mm x 778mm x 45mm. Complicit, 2019 (installation view). Inkjet photograph on Iilford rag. 1035mm x 1035mm x 45mm. Courtesy Tim Melville Gallery & the artist. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
Verna Apio-Takashima, Mauna Kea, 2020 (installation view). Wauke, natural dyes. 2885mm x 2885mm. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
A Very Different World, 2021 (installation view). Curated by Ngahiraka Mason. Works by Elliot Collins, Lisa Boivin, Visesio Siasau & Verna Apio-Takashima. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
Kent Monkman, Casualties of Modernity, 2015 (installation view). Colour film, English. 14 mins 20 secs. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
Russ Flatt, He Taonga Te Tamaiti, 2020. Inkjet print on wallpaper. 2590mm x 5035mm. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
Emily Parr & Arielle Walker, Whatuora, 2020 (installation view). HD video, single channel sound, reo Māori, English. 12 mins. Courtesy of the artists. Photo by Sam Hartnett.
Russ Flatt, Destination Aroha, 2020 (installation view). Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by Misong Kim.
Maraea Timutimu, Where the Ultimate Reality Can be Found, 2020 (installation view). Three digital prints on vinyl. 2400mm x 3000mm each. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by James Tapsell-Kururangi.
Russ Flatt, Destination Aroha, 2020 (installation view). Eight inkjet prints on polyester. 2000mm x 4000mm each. Installation dimensions variable. Commissioned by Te Tuhi in association with Auckland Arts Festival Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki Makaurau & New Zealand Maritime Museum Hui Te Ananui a Tangaroa. Photo by Andrew Kennedy.
Russ Flatt, Destination Aroha, 2020 (installation view). Eight inkjet prints on polyester. 2000mm x 4000mm each. Installation dimensions variable. Commissioned by Te Tuhi in association with Auckland Arts Festival Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki Makaurau & New Zealand Maritime Museum Hui Te Ananui a Tangaroa. Photo by Andrew Kennedy.
Russ Flatt, Destination Aroha, 2020 (installation view). Eight inkjet prints on polyester. 2000mm x 4000mm each. Installation dimensions variable. Commissioned by Te Tuhi in association with Auckland Arts Festival Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki Makaurau & New Zealand Maritime Museum Hui Te Ananui a Tangaroa. Photo by Andrew Kennedy.
Jaimie Waititi, BFN MF, 2021 (installation view). Synthetic & mooring rope. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by Misong Kim.

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A Very Different World brings to light the changed realities and unprecedented difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic. The artists share their experiences of the past year in works that focus on hope and wellbeing – reflecting the second chance this gruelling time offered to practise reverence for life and to connect as a human family. The newly commissioned works show that the artists are engaging in an altered world, working out new cultural and philosophical standpoints. This kaupapa is their occasion to express love, care and concern for mental and emotional conditions that appear dire yet can be instructive. A Very Different World also contributes to heart-led creativity that links to a whakapapa of continuous art practice in Aotearoa New Zealand, Tonga, Hawai‘i and Canada.

Lately, I have been thinking about the human family, which stretches across the globe.

In 2020 the term ‘humanity’, applied to the global family, gathered new meaning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, we face the enormity of humankind with the knowledge that our existence is fragile. So far in the human family, we share an unbroken whakapapa of life, reproduction and death. But this is precarious – all life is a remarkable gift.

In 1969 Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. Images were beamed back to Earth with his famous words, ‘That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’ And it was! When space expeditions send images back to Earth, the planet’s most significant feature – blue water covering our world – conveys humanity’s position as infinitely small.

In the dance of being human, it was understood by some ancient cultures that blue was the colour of love. Each day we are comforted or moved in some way by seeing the blue sky, the blue ocean. Blue has a reassuring effect because it is as expansive as the human heart’s capacity to love and feel gratitude for all life.

In this way, A Very Different World is a testament to the power of love and hope. Aroha for a beloved, for whānau, the community, our oceans, land and sky. Through this kaupapa the artists champion the concept that aroha is Aotearoa New Zealand’s greatest cultural possession. We are more than the sum of our race, sexuality, gender and heritage. Love is vital and helps us through controversies, changed realities and times of uncertainty like the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the open spaces of divergent cultures and creative practice, what are the markers that point to human life’s fundamentals such as love, kindness, regard and respect? Common in exhibition-making is a focus on the evolution of an individual artist or on new art personalities. There is a common habit of comparing ʻrealities’ of the natural world with the artificial, the fake and the real, the moral and immoral, organic and processed. Patterns like this lead to exclusion and separation, creating repressed perspectives on being human.

The 18 artists in A Very Different World represent the divergence and convergence of some of life’s fundamentals, found within the artistic human family at this moment and in this place. We are humbled by a virus that threatens human life. We are also optimistic about our human capacity to hold reverence for love and for life. This exhibition gives pause for gratitude.

About Ngahiraka Mason

Ngahiraka Mason (Tūhoe, Te Arawa, Ngāti Pango) is an independent curator, critic, and visual historian with research and curatorial interests in the material culture and histories of Polynesian peoples and community relationships with museums and collections. Mason is the former Indigenous Curator, Māori Art at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Aotearoa New Zealand. Her exhibitions and publications focus on historical, modern, and contemporary art. Recent projects include Wananga|Wanana (2019) at Bishop Museum, Honolulu; Honolulu Biennial: Middle of Now/Here, the inaugural Honolulu Biennial (2017) and the international touring exhibition Gottfried Lindauer’s New Zealand (2014–16). She has published in American Quarterly (2020), and presented at the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CIMAM) conference (2019) and at NIRIN, the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020). Mason is a founding trustee of the Wairau Māori Art Gallery Charitable Trust, Whangārei, and a former trustee on the Te Māori Manaaki Taonga Trust. Mason lives and works in Honolulu, Hawai‘i.

Pānuihia

Reader: A Very Different World 
List of works: A Very Different World

Events

25 February 2021 – Destination Aroha with Ngahiraka Mason & Russ Flatt
26 February 2021 – Auckland Art Fair Ngātahi talks: How and When?
20 March 2021 Panel discussion: Making Art and Meaning during COVID-19

Press

RNZ Standing Room Only – A Very Different World with Ngahiraka Mason

Pānuihia

A Very Different World: What Would Te Rangihiroa Say and Do?

Mātakina

Auckland Art Fair Ngātahi talks: How and When?