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.