Paringa Ou was brought about by the invitation of Johannah Wilson, curator at the Cook Islands National Museum. Originally curated by the artist curator Ian ‘Upokoina’ George in 1998, Paringa Ou was toured internationally and shown at the Cook Island National Museum, Fiji Museum and Gus Fisher Gallery. It was a collection of contemporary art works by Cook Island descendants living in Aotearoa New Zealand, many of whom were born here. Being diasporic Cook Island artists, many of the works dealt with issues around the process of assimilation and Christian influences, which have infiltrated traditional ways of life and art forms.
The artists stated - “As New Zealand-Cook Island artists we are exploring the duality we find ourselves in. Many of us were born in New Zealand; some have never been to the Cook Islands. So, this journey of our artwork takes on a special significance. It is a spiritual return to our “home.”
Paringa Ou exhibition card, 1999
Paringa Ou publication, 1999