Rakau Cola Exhibition
Their next exhibition called 'Rakau Cola' will be on display this month at the Creative Tauranga Community Gallery.
'Rakau Cola' is a meeting of modern western design and traditional Maori art.
Tawhai and Tania are contemporary Maori artists with strongly held religious beliefs and a joint love of creating powerful images that are both visually pleasing and thought provoking.
They have also completed a number of commission works for various marae, schools and other establishments including the captivating stainless steel and concrete waka sculpture ‘Te Haerenga’ for Tauranga Boys' College.
Tania preparing a support for an exhibition piece.
Tania's art is an interesting blend of European and Maori influences. Inspired by Walter Gropius the German architect and founder of the Bauhaus Movement in the 1920's and 30's, Tania also identifies strongly with Maori artists Sandy Adsett and the strong images of Darryn George.
Darryn George, currently in the atrium at Tauranga Art Gallery , uses methods of geometric abstraction and the repetition of traditional pattern to create his bold, eye-catching artworks.
When Tania, along with her own unique creative art process, mixes these together it makes for exciting images that traverse art styles and time.
As well as teaching art at Tauranga Girls' College, Tania who also has a background in commercial design, is continually exploring Maori customary artforms and modern architectural ideas. She has based some of her work on the arrangement and stacking of the different coloured rakau cuisenaire rods that are used to teach mathematics and Maori language in schools.
'Coca Kia Ora' Mixed Media and acrylic.
'Coca Kia Ora' is an earlier Tawhai work showing the merging of a famous corporate icon and a notable Kowhaiwhai pattern. Both are very distinctive in design. The visual tension between the two can be seen as a reference to the tensions Imperialism and Colonialism have brought to our recent history here in Aotearoa.
Tawhai says, "I was raised within the urban rhythms of Gisborne and the isolated East Coast of my Ngati Porou people.
"Growing up without speaking Te Reo and practicing the customs and protocols of our ancestors I moved within certain circles that relied solely upon the feeling of being Maori.
"This made way for the influence of outside cultures, for instance Rastafarism and Black American culture.
"As time went by the realization of being Maori and the greatness of our culture became more important to me.
"Art was to become a potent vehicle to live and portray my Maoritanga".
The Rakau Cola Exhibition will open at Creative Tauranga Community Gallery on Thursday, April 19 at 6p.m. and will show until 9th May.
Tawhai and Tania will be giving floor talks during this time about their art and the Rakau Cola exhibition.
by Pete Morris (April 2012).
Pete Morris is an occasional painter and an art lover. He is a free-lance writer with a particular interest in promoting the visual arts in Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty.
Date of Event2012