19 June – 31 October 2021
An exciting new project by celebrated Ngāi Tahu artist Lonnie Hutchinson.
Kawakawa is the most important healing herb in the traditional form of plant-based medicine practiced by Māori, known as rongoā. Ahu Tīmataka / Trace Elements brings together rongoā plantings on the Gallery’s forecourt and cut-out works in an exhibition space upstairs.
From the Store
Lonnie Hutchinson’s intricately cut-out billboard celebrates supportive friendships between womenLonnie Hutchinson’s intricately cut-out billboard celebrates supportive friendships between women
Welcome to the winter edition of Bulletin. In this issue of the magazine we hear from writer and rongoā practitioner Arihia Latham (Kāi Tahu), who looks at celebrated Kāi Tahu artist Lonnie Hutchinson’s new project for our gallery spaces and forecourt. Rongoā is the traditional form of plant-based medicine practiced by Māori, and Ahu Tīmataka / Trace Elements brings together rongoā plantings on the Gallery’s forecourt and cut-out works in an exhibition space upstairs. Foremost amongst the plants featured in the exhibition is kawakawa—the most important herb in Māori traditional healing. Latham finds a project that questions our construction of spaces, and the exterior versus the interior presentation of ourselves.
The Place Our Shadow is Cast
Lonnie Hutchinson’s new exhibition at Te Puna o Waiwhetū Christchurch Art Gallery is a calling—between living rākau rongoā planted on the forecourt of the Gallery and imprints of their leaves cut into wallpaper and metal inside. It questions our construction of spaces, the exterior versus the interior presentation of ourselves, inevitably exposing our own health and that of our taiao. Lonnie talks about rongoā, medicinal plant extracts, as being human-made, in as much as paper is human-made from plants, or aluminium cladding from bauxite in the earth. She carves the shapes of leaves into paper and aluminium and we are asked to step with her into te whare tapa wha—the house of healing. Sir Mason Durie designed this whare with a pillar for our tinana, our hinengaro, our wairua and our whānau and it is these things that I feel Hutchinson is asking us to notice in her deconstructed rongoā built of the elements, extracted from the earth, intrinsic to our whakapapa.
Lara Strongman: Why did you call this work Hoa Kōhine (Girlfriend)?
Lonnie Hutchinson: The work is very feminine in nature. Because it’s the 125 year celebration of women’s suffrage in Aotearoa this year, I wanted to refer to women, and to the friendship between women. “Girlfriend” is what women friends call each other, in an affectionate sort of way. Hey girlfriend! And in a text we’ll use gf.
Bringing the Soul
As an eleven-year-old boy from Whāngarei, sent to live in Yaldhurst with my aunt in the late seventies, Christchurch was a culture shock. Arriving in New Zealand’s quintessential ‘English city’, I remember well the wide landscapes and manicured colonial built environment. It was very pretty but also very monocultural, with no physical evidence of current or former Māori occupation or cultural presence, or at least none that I could appreciate at that time.
A Perspective on Pacific Art in Christchurch
Pacific art is one of the more internationally successful and innovative sectors of New Zealand’s art industry, but Pacific artists in Ōtautahi have struggled to be a visible part of the city’s cultural landscape. Due to our small population and distance from the Pacific art capital that is Auckland, our artists have often developed in relative isolation, relying on our Pasifika arts community to maintain a sense of cultural vitality, belonging and place within the city.
Lonnie Hutchinson's sista7
I am writing about a favourite piece from the Gallery’s collection in autumn 2015, when that collection is in storage and the Gallery is closed at least until Christmas, so I’m prompting memory by consulting the online catalogue. It’s brilliant: hundreds of images, 90 percent of the entire 7,000 collection, but to be honest, it feels a bit odd.