An unprecedented visual story illuminated by a passionate creative autonomy that speaks of pride, courage and moral clarity. A multi-faceted portrait of a land at the end of the world, with a unique and original identity derived from the interplay of cultures and ethnicities. This new Imago Mundi collection brings together 210 works that reflect all the extraordinary vitality of a nation that constantly reinvents itself and guarantees its artists the opportunity to navigate in accordance with a personal compass rather than follow the increasingly virtual and impersonal methods of consumerist art.
Sheyne Tuffery - Waimanu (Paleo Penguin) (2016)
The collection, curated by Rosa Maria Falvo, independent writer and curator specialising in contemporary art from the Asia-Pacific region, is a kaleidoscopic portrait of a land in which the national culture combines the Pākehā influence (New Zealanders of European origin) whose roots lie in the West, cultural inspiration from Asian and Pacific countries, and Māori traditions, long dormant, that have found a new voice and draw the attention of the public, not only within national borders.
The curator Rosa Maria Falvo
“One of the very first artists I invited to be part of this collection greeted me with his pepeha – a Māori saying that identifies who you are”, recalls the curator: “In a few accurately chosen words, he expressed his personal and spiritual connections to a specific mountain (maunga), lake (moana), river (awa), meeting house (wharenui), dining hall (wharekai), canoe (waka), and clan (hapu). In each relationship he acknowledged his ties to the land and the people from which he emerged. Effectively, he was asserting his unique and interdependent identity, right from the outset.
Ilya Volykhine - Garmoshka (Little Accordion) (2016)
Ngahina Hohaia born in 1975 in her tribal homeland of Taranaki, Aotearoa New Zealand, Ngahina graduated with a Master of Māori Visual Arts from Massey University, Palmerston North in 2010. Later, she moved to Auckland continuing her art practice and working in Māori tourism. Ngahina comes from a strong family background in traditional Māori carving, weaving and fibre work. Her own art practice has developed as contemporary sculpture and installation using a range of materials, including metals, woollen blankets, and fence posts. Ngahina’s work is often described as being politically committed in that it explores a discourse on the continuation of colonization and cultural collision in Aotearoa (New Zealand). Her work holds the political position of asserting mana tangata whenua – indigeneity as resilience and defiance. Ngahina’s prestigious public exhibition history now spans over a decade.
Ngahina Hohaia - The Un - Passive Passage (2016)
Chris Bailey born in 1965 in Wellington, New Zealand, Chris has Irish ancestry while also descending from the tribes of Te Aupouri, Ngāti Hako, Ngāti Porou and Ngāti Paoa. He lives on Waiheke Island where he works full-time as a sculptor. Having studied Māori material culture at Auckland University in 2001-2002, where he learnt traditional Māori techniques for working stone, he went on to develop a sculptural practice working in the hard stones of granite and basalt, inspired by the artefacts created by his ancestors but allowing the forms to evolve and develop to become objects of this century. In 2005 he was recognised by the New Zealand Arts Council – Creative New Zealand – with lifelong Toi Iho status in recognition of his skills as a sculptor in stone. Chris has since realized significant public sculptures in New Zealand. His works are sought after by collectors of contemporary Māori sculpture.
Chris Bailey - Strictly Native (2016)
Sally Smith born in 1968 in Auckland, New Zealand, she lives and works on Waiheke Island as a full-time artist and owner of Toi Gallery. Having gained her Bachelor in Architecture from Auckland University in 1993, Sally practiced as a registered architect until 2010 when she made the switch to practicing her art full-time. Smith’s works are informed by both the cultural landscape she finds herself in as a mother of European descent with Māori children, and the natural environment she inhabits.
Sally Smith - Kaitiaki-Guardian (2016)
Priscilla Cowie born in 1974 in Christchurch, New Zealand, where she lives and works as a painter, sculptor and designer. Māori culture is the backbone of Priscilla’s art practice, and she completed several public art commissions for Te Rūnanga ō Ngāi Tahu, including seven bronze eels situated outside the Christchurch Civic building. In 2013 Priscilla created designs to adorn shade sails that are now installed in a permanent Māori garden at Les Jardins de Fruitiers de Laquenexy, near Metz, France.
Priscilla Cowie - Taku Moko (My Mark/Granddaughter) (2016)
“The curatorial experience of meeting these artists and their families in situ, listening to their stories (even for a few minutes), and setting up a dynamic where they can collaborate, is satisfying to me as a cultural practitioner. It presupposes a sense of unity and purpose, and I found New Zealand artists to be extraordinarily helpful and full of spontaneous initiative”. Rosa Maria Falvo, curator.
Mary Ama - Aua Roti (2016)
Lorna Dixon-Rikihana born in 1961 in Thames, New Zealand, Lorna has been a Māori artist and educator for over twenty-five years. Specializing in Māori art, such as raranga, tukutuku, kōwhaiwhai, whakairo and tā moko, in 1992 she began carving on wood, bone, pounamu, stone and now granite. In 2001 she was one of two Tā moko artists to represent Aotearoa in Hawaii, USA. Lorna has worked as a manager/curator in Te Taumata Art Gallery in Auckland, and she completed her Master’s of Fine Arts in 2015. She is currently teaching art in a teacher training tertiary institution. To be the tohunga raranga (skilled expert weaver) tukutuku is the pinnacle of Māori culture. Lorna credits her motivation and passion to her mentors, and has successfully used her qualities to nurture her students into becoming teachers and mentors for future generations.
Lorna Dixon - Rikihana, Tiakina te taiao (2016)
Karuna Douglas born in 1967 in Auckland, Aotearoa (New Zealand), award-winning ceramist Karuna lives and works close to the rugged west coast at Muriwai Beach. As a glaze artist with a passion for glaze research, Karuna’s work gives her the means to share this obsession. Her research has resulted in unique glazes and surfaces for her work, which are recognizable for their simple architectural forms: “I love the infinite possibilities within the surfaces of ceramics – that layer just below and just above the clay.” The graphic intensity of Karuna’s work is strongly influenced by her multicultural upbringing. In her vibrant tile work, there are Indian influences in her imagery, textures and colors, all of which strongly reference her ancestral homeland. Her pounamu-inspired macrocrystalline glazes evoke a sense of ‘this’ place, with unmistakable references to Aotearoa’s dynamic landscapes.
Karuna Douglas - Te Whenua Ao (2016)
Olivier Duhamel born in 1957 in France, Olivier has been a New Zealander since 1987. He is a respected figurative sculptor, and a prolific artist and regular exhibitor. Duhamel has acquired a masterful command of the figurative form, and his bronze figurines and laminated sculptures have won awards. His pieces are held in many private and public collections, including the Wallace Arts Trust. After extensive travels in Europe, Africa and the South Pacific, the young Duhamel settled in New Zealand and became a citizen in 1992. He now lives and works on Waiheke Island near Auckland, where he has spent the last 10 years establishing a bronze sculpture practice and a network of relations with art galleries representing his work in New Zealand, Australia and Europe. His creations do not convey any particular message, do not attempt any conceptual or symbolist exploration, nor do they search to be innovative at all costs. He is rather trying to simply capture the beauty and sensuality of his subjects: “When it comes to art, I am chiefly concerned with beauty, emotion and a mastery of my craft.”
Olivier Duhamel - The Three Graces (2016)
Robert Jahnke born in 1951 in Waipiro Bay, East Coast, New Zealand, he lives and works in Palmerston North and is best known for his sculptural practice. He is responsible for setting up the first Māori visual arts degree in a university: the Bachelor of Māori Visual Arts in 1995, a Postgraduate Diploma of Māori Visual Arts, and a Master of Māori Visual Arts in 1999. Robert contributes to Māori development through his teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level, his research into traditional Māori carving, and his academic writing which straddles art education, contemporary and traditional Māori art, and identity politics. His practice over the years has incorporated design, illustration, animation and sculpture. Recently his work has included painting and a suite of neon works.
Robert Jahnke - I am a Imago Mundi Artist (2016)
Emily Karaka born in 1952, in Auckland, New Zealand, where she has lived and painted for thirty-five years, Emily is a self-taught artist, who has received numerous arts and community grants and exhibited nationally and internationally, representing Aotearoa (New Zealand) in touring exhibitions in America, Canada, Australia and Noumea. In 1997 she was also part of the inaugural Johannesburg Biennale in South Africa. Her art practice is primarily focused on the Te Tiriti o Waitangi (Treaty of Waitangi) under which the government of New Zealand was founded, as well as her environmental, social and political concerns, and most recently her involvement in rallying against the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.
Emily Karaka - NO TPPA (No Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement) (2016)
Daphne Mason born in 1928 in Feilding, New Zealand, Daphne Mason is 87 years old and now lives and paints most days on her conservation property in Auckland. With a career spanning nearly 50 years, Daphne’s distinctive artistic voice reflects her experiences as a first generation New Zealander at home and abroad. Growing up in New Zealand in the early 20th century, before setting off on her OE (overseas experience) to work in post-war London and New York, Daphne relished the vibrant culture both those cities had to offer. Working as a painter, with a strong foundation in life drawing, Daphne’s work often reflects her intellectual and emotional response to relationships, connections, and memories. Her current highly structured series, simply entitled Compositions, began in 2013. Reflecting her lifelong fascination with puzzles, this series sees Daphne setting puzzles for herself, balancing colour and form to underpin the abstract narrative.
Daphne Mason - Composition #47: United Colours (2016)
Olaf Mengeringhausen born in 1963 in Duisburg, North Rhyne-Westphalia, Germany, he lives and works in Alexandra, New Zealand. Aesthetics and humor are defining characteristics of his art practice. Mengeringhausens’ works are held in private collections throughout the world.
Olaf Mengeringhausen - Mini Volcanoes (2016)
Te Aomarama Ngarimu born in 1965 in Auckland, New Zealand, Ngarimu studied art, craft and design in Hawke’s Bay in 1986. He has gone on to develop his expertise in weaving skills in the areas of traditional cloak making, tāniko, and flax weaving. Ngarimu has many woven works in government collections internationally as his work has often been gifted by the New Zealand Government to foreign countries.
Te Aomarama Ngarimu - Paapaka Whakairo – Crab Pattern (2016)
Ruth Phipps born in 1957 in Auckland, New Zealand, Ruth works from her studio at Railway Street Studios in Newmarket, New Zealand. Drawing on the intensely personal nature of fabric as a point of departure, her work explores aspects of fragility, stillness, memory, the transience of time, and the quiet suggestion of human presence or absence.
Ruth Phipps - Like Soul, Waiting to Remind Us (2016)
Antoinette Ratcliffe born in 1979 in Hamilton, New Zealand, she lives and works in Auckland. Her work explores thematic narratives derived from hybridism and horror conventions, as well as anthropomorphic associations. Horror b-movies have influenced her current body of work, giving the installations and sculptures an awareness of a quiet sinister suspense as visitors are watched by the taxidermy and plaster ‘ghost hunter’ animals that scale walls or sit quietly on their own.
Antoinette Ratcliffe - Untitled (2016)
Beverly Rhodes born in 1941 in Methven in the South Island of Aotearoa (New Zealand), she lives and works in Wellington, New Zealand. Prior to studying art, Beverly worked as a clinical psychologist. Her work is figurative and is influenced by her previous career, focusing on psychological themes and emotions often relating to trauma and loss.
Beverly Rhodes - When the World is Upside Down (2016)
Tiffany Singh born in 1978 in Auckland, New Zealand, Tiffany Singh is an installation artist. Her interest in cultural preservation and her desire to integrate this into her art practice inspired Tiffany to work as a volunteer in Northern India in 2005. Using art as an educational tool for empowerment and communication, Singh has grounded her career trajectory by identifying art as a means to generate and affect change, as well as addressing community wellbeing. She has worked on sustainable community outreach and is focusing on participatory works to engage communities, whilst exploring her academic enquiry into what is “sacred” in contemporary society.
Tiffany Singh - The Life Giving Energy of Bees (2016)
Dean Tercel born in 1966 in Auckland, New Zealand, where he has lived and worked his entire life, Dean is currently working in Studio Art Supplies as a specialist canvas stretcher and technical adviser on painting and materials. He has exhibited in solo and group shows for the last twenty-five years. Dean’s recent oil paintings of buildings have little to do with an interest in their architectural merit or function, but rather as markers that trace the boundaries of our urban environments. Familiar yet often vague and distant, for this artist the buildings cement our belief in subjective versions of reality.
Dean Tercel - #81-82 (Jervois) (2016)
Geoff Tune born in 1947 in Gisborne, New Zealand, Geoff Tune now lives and works in Mt. Eden, Auckland. Geoff’s work tends to sit between abstraction and figuration and is generally landscape based. For the last fifty years there has been an ongoing exploration of imagery relating to the volcanic cone of Mount Eden which dominates the Auckland skyline and which features in this body of work. Tune’s work is held in public and private collections in New Zealand and private collections in Australia, Europe and the United States.
Geoff Tune - Signs of Eden (2016)
Michael G. Walker born in 1956 in London, UK, Michael lives and works as an artist in Auckland, New Zealand. His work currently focuses on icons of power, as they undergo exposure, re-visioning and re-formation. Recently, Michael has collaborated with the US-born, New Zealand colour field painter, Ellen Johansen to produce multi-layered compositions that draw inspiration from Western and Eastern mythology. Michael has exhibited in the UK, Italy, Australia and New Zealand.
Michael G. Walker - Mystery of Entanglements (2016)
Art Direction, Photography and Production
La Biennale di Malindi Ltd.
Rosa Maria Falvo
Luciano Benetton / Rosa Maria Falvo / Andrew Paul Wood / Ngarino Ellis
Translation and editing
Carlo Antonio Biscotto / Emma Cole / Rosa Maria Falvo / Camilla Mozzato / Pietro Valdatta / Martina Fornasaro
Bronwyn Waipuka-Callander - The Hongi
Marco Zanin (artworks) / All images courtesy of the individual artists (portraits)
Special Thanks to
Fondazione Sarenco / Oksana Ignatush / Anton Forde / Chris Bailey / Michael Hall / Cinzah Merkens / Ben Pearce Amanda Rawiri / Henare Brooking / Desna Whaanga-Schollum / Brendan Grant / Kristelle Plimmer / Michael Kennedy / Bryce Brown / Elizabeth Ellis Simon Bowden / Garry Nicholas (Toi Māori Aotearoa) / Simon Bowden (The Arts Foundation) / Tina Pihema and all the team (Tautai Pacific Arts Trust) / Prof. Chris Bennewith (Massey University College of Creative Arts) / Julie Parsons (Rotorua Museum) / Vicky Thomas (Kura Gallery) / Jarcinda Stowers-Ama (the Pacifica Arts Centre) / Natasha Calandrino Van Kleef / Oriano Mabellini / Dr. Ngarino Ellis (art historian at the University of Auckland) / Andrew Wood (art critic and curator in Christchurch)