3 Dec 2022 — 20 Mar 2023
Te Au: Liquid Constituencies
Bonita Bigham, Megan Cope, Erub Arts, Ruha Fifita, Taloi Havini, INTERPRT, María Francisca Montes Zúñiga, Angela Tiatia, Te Waituhi ā Nuku: Drawing Ecologies, Arielle Walker
Te Waituhi a Nuku
María Francisca Montes Zúñiga
We are nourished, shaped by, and dependent upon the waters and currents around us. Springs, streams, rivers and oceans have long been sources of food and sustenance, routes for voyaging and trade, and repositories of spiritual knowledge and a sense of identity.
We should be one with water and water with us. To be so would require a delicately held balance - one that has not been disturbed by centuries of colonial expansion, resource extraction and industrial production. Now more than ever, the waters around us require care, restoration and guardianship.
Te Au: Liquid Constituencies gathers works by artists that engage in significant relationships with water. The exhibition is loosely structured around the rotating currents of Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa-flowing from the unique landscape of Taranaki, down Te Ika-a-Māui to Horowhenua and the Kāpiti Coast, coursing past Antarctica and Patagonia, before moving through the waters around Tuvalu and Tonga among many other island nations, and along the Australian coastline.
Bound by a shared concern for the ongoing flourishing of human and non-human life, the artists in Te Au: Liquid Constituencies deploy a range of media - from cut paper, weaving, stitching, stenciling and drawing, to ngatu and moving image. Their works draw upon forms of local and ancestral knowledge, as well as legal frameworks and notions of justice in relation to the natural world, to personally bear witness and advocate and act for change. Together, these works invite consciousness of our inter-relations to water, and to each other.
This exhibition is a starting point for a range of exhibitions and events at the Gallery over the coming years including contributions from Mana Whenua, scientists, researchers, educators, and artists from Taranaki, Aotearoa and beyond. Each will expand an understanding of our liquid constituencies - our common existence with, and concern for, the wellbeing of water. Inviting conversations across disciplines and cultural contexts, the project arises from the hope that the Govett-Brewster can be a forum for imagining shared futures.
Curatorium: Zara Stanhope, Simon Gennard, Ruth McDougall, Beatriz Bustos Oyanedel, Huhana Smith and Megan Tamati-Quennell