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07 September 2024 —
01 December 2024

Shannon Te Ao: Ia rā, ia rā (rere runga, rere raro) - Everyday (I fly high, I fly low), presented at 15th Gwangju Biennale

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Presented through a unique partnership between Te Tuhi, The Dowse Art Museum and the Office for Contemporary Art Aotearoa (OCAA), Shannon Te Ao’s work Ia rā, ia rā (rere runga, rere raro) - Everyday (I fly high, I fly low) represents Aotearoa New Zealand’s contribution to the 15th Gwangju Biennale Pavilion (2024).

This three channel video installation will be part of the Gwangju Biennale Pavilion, taking place alongside the Biennale’s curated exhibition, Pansori, a soundscape of the 21st century, by artistic director Nicolas Bourriard.

Te Ao’s moving image work features the tīwakawaka (fantail) as the protagonist. This small bird endemic to Aotearoa, is linked to Māori narratives associated with the concepts of birth and death; many stories tie it to the atua (gods), particularly to Māui.

The video captures two young men in motion. Alongside the synchronized thirty-six still images contained within this installation, a pao (song) composed and performed by Kurt Komene supplies the soundtrack. Komene’s lyrics, like the flowing actions of the performers, follow the tīwakawaka’s flight path.

Originally commissioned by the Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art, this new iteration of Ia rā, ia rā (rere runga, rere raro) - Everyday (I fly high, I fly low), curated by Karl Chitham, allows the audience to immerse themselves within the imagery and soundscape.

Te Tuhi, The Dowse and OCAA would like to acknowledge Jenny and Andrew Smith, Jo and John Gow, Ambassador Dawn Bennet and the New Zealand Embassy team in Seoul, and the Gwangju Biennale Foundation for their generous support for this project.

About Shannon Te Ao (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Wairangi, Te Pāpaka-a-Māui)
Shannon Te Ao’s recent film and photographic works conflate markers of place, movement and experience. Often elegiac in tone, imagery within his work reflects upon personal narratives, historical events and collaboration as means to explore Māori thought and experience. Te Ao has exhibited widely nationally and internationally with his seminal work two shoots that stretch far out (2013–4) shown in the Biennale of Sydney in 2014, later earning him Aotearoa New Zealand’s most coveted award, the Walters Prize, in 2016. He has completed commissions for the 10th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT10) and 13th Gwangju Biennale. Te Ao recently presented solo exhibitions at REMAI Modern (Saskatoon); Oakville Galleries (Toronto), and Te Uru (Tamaki Makaurau Auckland), and curated the exhibition Matarau at City Gallery Wellington. Te Ao is a member of the rōpū (board) of Coastal Signs (Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland).

About Karl Chitham (Ngā Puhi, Te Uriroroi)
Curator of the exhibition, Karl Chitham is Director of the Dowse Art Museum, Te Awakairangi ki Tai Lower Hutt, Aotearoa New Zealand. He has curated extensively including recent projects Takiwā Hou: Imagining New Spaces, Malta Biennale; Nell X Colin McCahon: Through the Wall of Birth and Death; Reuben Paterson: The Only Dream Left co-curated with Aaron Lister; and Shane Cotton: Te Puāwai. Chitham is a trustee of Wairau Māori Art Gallery, the first dedicated public Māori art gallery in Aotearoa. He has written for multiple arts publications including co-authoring the ground-breaking publication Crafting Aotearoa: A Cultural History of New Zealand and the Wider Moana Oceania and has been a selector including for the New Zealand Pavilion at Venice 2021.

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