Welcome to the summer issue of Bulletin. In it we celebrate the opening of our new exhibition Te Puna Waiora: The Distinguished Weavers of Te Kāhui Whiritoi. This major show is the most significant showcase of Māori weaving to be displayed in Ōtautahi Christchurch since we were privileged to host Toi Māori: The Eternal Thread / Te Aho Mutunga Kore in 2007. For Bulletin, Patricia Te Arapo Wallace, adjunct senior fellow for the Aotahi School of Māori and Indigenous Studies at the University of Canterbury, writes about the process of Māori weaving; its decline during nineteenth-century colonisation and its eventual recovery leading to the creation of the Kāhui Whiritoi in 2005. This group was formed to acknowledge the mana of Aotearoa’s master weavers, and their works are further celebrated in the major new publication the Gallery has produced to accompany the exhibition.
Te Puna Waiora
In the Māori worldview, context is vital. Knowledge is not disembodied information but part of a living matrix of encounters and relationships, past and present, natural and spiritual.
In 2017, Petrena Fishburn wrote in this magazine about the innovative art dealer and arts advocate Barbara Brooke. In this issue, we pay tribute to Judith MacFarlane (née Gifford), who co-founded Christchurch’s Brooke Gifford Gallery with Barbara Brooke in 1975 and – following Brooke’s death in 1980 – went on to turn it into one of New Zealand’s longest-running commercial galleries and a respected mainstay of the Ōtautahi Christchurch arts scene. Over that time, she offered early opportunities that helped launch the careers of many of Aotearoa’s now most recognised artists. Judith was a woman with a great eye, wonderful style and a tenacious belief in the importance of contemporary art.
Summer is the perfect time to sit back with a book. That’s the theory anyway, assuming life allows you the luxury. But what to read, and where to start? Stand by for some great recommendations…
Gifts on the Table: a tribute to Joanna
Summer green as lint / wound about the bone / bandaged in green I lay / quiet all summer long / summer sings a song / of its own.
This is an unpublished poem written by Joanna when she was living at Barrys Bay on Banks Peninsula. She moved there with her husband Jeffrey Harris and their daughter, Magdalena, in 1975. The family had previously been staying at Okains Bay. There’s a languid, sensuous feel to the lines. The summer is beautiful, it’s green and musical and encompassing, and yet a feeling of unsettlement arises. The choice of ‘lint’ and ‘bandaged’ suggest damage and there’s a need to rest up, a need for healing. I wonder if Joanna was pregnant at this time; that would make it 1976 and she would be awaiting the birth of her second daughter, Imogen. The baby was born in the Akaroa hospital in late February, but sadly died after surgery for a heart condition in December of the same year. An exquisite white marble headstone, a hemisphere carved by Jeffrey, marks the grave in the Akaroa cemetery. Joanna herself was buried there in 2003.
Raising the Clay
One of the themes explored in the Gallery’s new exhibition Leaving for Work is local industry, particularly in relation to pottery. The show includes an 1896 painting by Charles Kidson of well-known early Sydenham potter Luke Adams; three late nineteenth-century pots by Adams; and projections of a number of exceptional photographs by Steffano Webb. Keen to learn more, exhibition curator Ken Hall met up with local pottery historian Barry Hancox – perhaps best-known as former Smith’s Bookshop proprietor – and leading New Zealand photographer, Oxford-based Mark Adams. Mark’s links to this story include a distant family connection to Luke Adams; photographing many celebrated New Zealand potters of the 1970s and 1980s; and an abiding interest in land and memory.
The Golden Bearing and Postcritical Enchantment
Reuben Paterson’s The Golden Bearing is a life-sized tree in sparkling gold. This three-dimensional form extends the artist’s frequent use of glitter and diamond dust into the realm of sculpture. In doing so, his magical tree and its shimmering leaves speak to the complex and evolving relationship between nature and culture, via a grounding in hope, joy and wonder.
Lisa Reihana – Sex Trade, Gift for Banks, Dancing Lovers, Sextant Lesson (18550) (19205)
Dear Sex Trade, Gift for Banks, Dancing Lovers, Sextant Lesson (18550) (19205),
I’m surprised to see you here, and I’m conflicted.
At once I love you then I hate you. Do you remember the first time I saw you in your entirety? It was bitterly cold, an unexpected Toronto snowstorm and I hid from the sleet in the warm Galleria Italia at the newly renovated Frank Gehry architecturally designed and renamed Art Gallery of Ontario. (10-year-old Juanita did not foresee this future for herself, she was hungry for food… Now she’s hungry for art and meaning, how wanky! Te Kore, Te Pō, Te Ao, born, live, die.)