TeManawa trans­formed

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The main ex­hi­bi­tion space of Te Manawa’s Gallery build­ing has been trans­formed into a twi­light of bright colour, its pur­posely dark in­te­rior lit only by the glow­ing neon of ATA: a third re­flec­tion, an ex­hi­bi­tion of works by Pro­fes­sor Bob Jahnke.

Th­ese pieces take the fa­mil­iar medium of neon lights and turn it to­ward ex­am­in­ing nar­ra­tives with deep roots in Maori cul­ture, spir­i­tu­al­ity and cos­mol­ogy.

By in­cor­po­rat­ing clas­si­cal Maori artis­tic el­e­ments, such as the di­a­mond, along­side more con­tem­po­rary re­li­gious sym­bols – the cross, the club of Rua Ke¯nana’s re­li­gion – into spaces that have no clear be­gin­ning or end­ing, Jahnke cre­ates a med­i­ta­tion on whaka­papa as a sum­ma­tion of many dif­fer­ent threads of Ma¯ori life.

ATA is ac­ces­si­ble to young and old alike. Pro­fes­sor Jahnke has de­scribed how te reo Maori im­mer­sion stu­dents were ab­sorbed by ‘‘Navarro tuku­tuku’’, a sculp­ture where the word ‘‘tuku’’ dis­ap­pears into – or does it emerge from? – the dark­ness.

The chil­dren ‘‘were all over the TUKU work, leav­ing their fin­ger­prints as they peered into the depths to find Tane,’’ he said.

In the spirit of ATA’s search for that with no end or be­gin­ning, it is joined in Gallery One by Is­rael Tan­garoa Birch’s Ara-i-te-uru. It too uses re­flec­tion and light, its waves of folded steel ap­pear­ing to re­cede into the dis­tance at floor level, invit­ing the viewer to fol­low, to walk the path.

Th­ese twin ex­hi­bi­tions at Te Manawa are open un­til Fe­bru­ary 6 is a true feast for the eyes and mind.

Trans­form­ing Te Manawa even fur­ther is the Di­nosaur En­counter re­sem­bling an ur­ban jun­gle through with re­pro­duc­tions of skele­tons, skulls and fos­sil re­mains adding breadth to the ex­pe­ri­ence

Photo: JEFFMCEWAN Ata tu­a­hahi on dis­play at Te Manawa.

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