Mary-Jane Duffy asks whether the annual event has become the BMW of the art world

At the Māori Art Market

ToiMaoriImmediateRelease-7  Credit: Photo by Matt SilcockArt mar­kets and art fairs have been part of the inter­na­tion­al land­scape of con­tem­por­ary art for about 30 years. In Aotearoa they are a rel­at­ively new phe­nomen­on — the Auck­land Art Fair opened only in 2006.

In Wel­ling­ton, the art fair concept took a more spe­cial­ised route with the advent of the Māori Art Mar­ket in 2007, and this is the month to see it at Te Papa and the TSB Event Centre. Two hun­dred artists, includ­ing a num­ber of Hawai’ian and Cana­dian indi­gen­ous artist, will be rep­res­en­ted by their gal­ler­ies or independently.

The mar­ket was star­ted and is still run by Toi Māori Aotearoa, an inde­pend­ent artist-led organ­isa­tion set up in the mid-1990s to pro­mote and find oppor­tun­it­ies for con­tem­por­ary Māori artists. It is headed by the vis­ion­ary Nich­olas broth­ers, Gary and Darcy, and has been suc­cess­ful in pro­mot­ing artists and their work in Canada, Japan and, more recently, the Netherlands.

Darcy is a juni­or mem­ber of a group of well-known artists — includ­ing Ral­ph Hotere, Cliff Whit­ing, Sel­wyn Muru, Buck Nin, Fred Gra­ham, Sandy Adsett and Arnold Wilson — who gathered togeth­er in the 1960s and 1970s to fig­ure out how to stay in con­trol of pro­mot­ing and selling their work.

After the Te Maori exhib­i­tion toured inter­na­tion­ally in 1980s, interest in Māori art at home mag­ni­fied. A new gen­er­a­tion of artists had emerged from main­stream art schools and from new schools such as Toi­houkura in Gis­borne and Hast­ings, and Te Pūtahi-a-Toi in Palmer­ston North.

This new gen­er­a­tion, along with seni­or artists, came togeth­er in Patua at City Gal­lery Wel­ling­ton in 1996. This exhib­i­tion showed the breadth and diversity of con­tem­por­ary Māori art at the time. It was in the wake of this exhib­i­tion that Toi Māori came into exist­ence, with the object­ive of cre­at­ing an eco­nomy for artists using loc­al and inter­na­tion­al networks.

At the launch of the 2014 mar­ket in Septem­ber, a black BMW stood coolly out­side the entrance to the Rydges Hotel. I want to say the car was dec­or­ated, but this seems like the wrong word for the sil­ver designs that grace its exter­i­or — the way a moko inhab­its a face. It was sug­ges­ted by Waana Dav­is, who spoke at the launch, that an All Black should own this car. And this is where Toi Māori are pos­i­tion­ing Māori art and design — along­side high-end brands like BMW.

The design is by tā moko artist Derek Lar­del­li and the car will be fea­tured at the mar­ket along with paint­ing, ceram­ics, sculp­ture, carving, weav­ing, tex­tiles and jew­ellery from artists all over the coun­try. Espe­cially excit­ing is the inclu­sion of pieces by altern­at­ive up-cycled fash­ion artists Dav­id Roil, Char­maine Anthony and Suz­anne Tamaki. Watch out for events at Te Papa as well as the mar­ket itself, from 7 to 16 November.



Novem­ber Art

The Dowse is always worth the trip. At the moment, Eliza­beth Thompson’s install­a­tion of moths cluster on the wall of the gal­lery just off the entrance — as if they were attrac­ted to the light of the walls (Invit­a­tion to Open­ness, until 23 Novem­ber). Next door is the truly beau­ti­ful Peter Pery­er exhib­i­tion, A Care­ful Eye (until 23 Novem­ber). Organ­ised in groups around the walls, Peryer’s pho­to­graphs spark new con­ver­sa­tions with each oth­er, while high­light­ing the con­sist­ency of his vis­ion over the years.[/info]

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About Mary-Jane Duffy

Mary-jane is a Paekakariki-based poet and essay­ist, and Fish­Head’s art colum­nist. She teaches poetry and aca­dem­ic writ­ing on the Whiyireia Cre­at­ive Writ­ing pro­gramme, tor­tur­ing stu­dents with half-rythmes and pan­toums, zom­bie haiku, and line breaks, ref­er­en­cing and struc­ture. Duffy has a back­ground in museum and gal­lery work, mak­ing a lucky escape from the base­ment of the City Gal­lery Wel­ling­ton in 2002 and open­ing the Mary New­town Gal­lery with Paula New­town in 2004. Art (across all the dis­cip­lines) feels like the closest thing she has to reli­gious exper­i­ences — see­ing, read­ing or hear­ing things that make her brain fizz.

About Mary-Jane Duffy

Avatar photo Mary-jane is a Paekakariki-based poet and essayist, and FishHead's art columnist. She teaches poetry and academic writing on the Whiyireia Creative Writing programme, torturing students with half-rythmes and pantoums, zombie haiku, and line breaks, referencing and structure. Duffy has a background in museum and gallery work, making a lucky escape from the basement of the City Gallery Wellington in 2002 and opening the Mary Newtown Gallery with Paula Newtown in 2004. Art (across all the disciplines) feels like the closest thing she has to religious experiences - seeing, reading or hearing things that make her brain fizz.


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