From Saturday 5 September until Sunday 25 October the Fisher Gallery in partnership with Owairoa Marae are presenting an exhibition of contemporary Māori weaving in the studio at the Fisher Gallery.
Te Tirohanga Hou is an exhibition of works from a group of Māori weavers based in the Waikato/Tainui region. A number of the weavers are members of a group known as Toi Aringa. This group promotes contemporary weaving practices and trains young weavers as well as participating in exhibitions and demonstrations.
This exhibition focuses attention on the development of traditional weaving. Young Māori participants regenerate the art, and in so doing, express themselves in exciting, new, colourful and interesting ways.
The Toi Aringa weavers are young and talented. The group of students from Toi Aringa graduated from Waikato Polytechnic and decided to set up a cottage industry-like association doing contract work for local Marae, making things like Tukutuku panels, Korowai, Piu Piu, Whariki and Kete. The group was formed in 1997.
The work in Te Tirohanga Hou includes traditional and contemporary pieces, bringing the past into the future. In keeping with this, the garments in the exhibition reflect both traditional and contemporary methods of weaving; a variety of materials have been used like raw flax, muka, kiekie and cabbage tree. Contemporary fibres have been used as well; cotton wool and string in addition to modern dyeing and drying processes.
There are three korowai in the exhibition, one traditional and two contemporary. As well as kete and contemporary kakahu, the traditional work is the keystone or origin for the other works.
For this, Toi Aringa’s first public exhibition, the group has been working on the experimental use of colours; oranges, blues, greens, browns and other non traditional colours have been used, perhaps signalling a young Māori willingness to challenge traditional boundaries and to explore new concepts in weaving. What makes this group of talented weavers different and special is their development of weaving techniques, the use of contemporary synthetic fibre.
→ Maori artwork on show, Eastern Courier, 16-09-98
→ Maori weavers show versatility, Manukau Courier, 10-09-98
→ Te Tirohanga Hou, Art New Zealand, no. 91, Winter 1999
→ The past made present, Weekend Herald, 3-10-1998
→ Te Tirohanga Hou, 1998, publication