West Auckland gallery to conclude Te Papa’s touring exhibition Black Rainbow

8 December 2014

Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Art Gallery in West Auckland will conclude Te Papa’s touring exhibition Black Rainbow by two of New Zealand’s leading artists.

The exhibition was developed by Te Papa in 2012 and features a selection of ‘black paintings’ by the late Ralph Hotere, some of his best known works. They sit alongside Michael Parekowhai’s sculptural work, an intricately carved Steinway grand piano titled He kōrero pūrākau mo te awanui o te motu: story of a New Zealand river.

“It’s fitting that our tour of Black Rainbow ends where it began in West Auckland as that’s where He kōrero was made and first showcased prior to its exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2011,” Te Papa curator Megan Tamati-Quennell says.

“Both of these artists can be described as ‘Māori Internationals.’ In the early 1960s, Hotere became the first Māori artist to be embraced by this country’s art mainstream. His profound influence on local art conversations was formally recognised in 2011 when he was made a member of the Order of New Zealand. That same year, Michael Parekowhai represented New Zealand at the Venice Biennale, where his vibrant red grand piano was the central work in his installation.

“Black Rainbow has been hugely successful in Palmerston North, Tauranga, and Whangarei, and has allowed audiences to engage with an exhibition in a way not normally possible, through playing He kōrero in a gallery setting.

“This exhibition is part of Te Papa’s broader programme to work with regional museums and galleries to extend beyond the walls of our buildings and ensure all New Zealanders, regardless of where they live, can see our national treasures.”

Black Rainbow will be accompanied by a series of musical performances curated by composer and pianist Hermione Johnson. The public are also invited to play He kōrero at scheduled times on Sundays for the duration of the exhibition. Bookings are required at the gallery’s reception.

Black Rainbow: Ralph Hotere & Michael Parekowhai runs at Te Uru from 11 December to 1 March 2015.

10am – 4.30pm daily
420 Titirangi Road, Titirangi, Auckland
09 818 8087

Media contact

Rachael Bruce, Senior Communications Adviser
+64 29 601 0010 or +64 4 381 7071

Background information

Ralph Hotere (1931-2013) is widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s most significant artists. Born in Mitimiti, Hotere is of Te Aupouri and Te Rarawa descent. He studied at the Auckland Teachers’ College in 1950 – an association that the University of Auckland marked in 2005 with the award of an honorary Doctorate in Literature. Hotere moved away from teaching and Auckland in the early 1950s to enrol at the Dunedin School of Art. His art education continued in Europe, after gaining a scholarship in 1961 which supported him to study in London at the Central School of Art. While in Europe, Hotere also spent time in France and Italy, returning to New Zealand in 1964. In 1969, Hotere was awarded the University of Otago’s Frances Hodgkins Fellowship. Following the fellowship Hotere settled in Dunedin. His practice is renowned for its use of literary elements, a strong social comment, and in particular, a prevalent use of black.

Michael Parekowhai (b. 1968) is a leading artist of his generation who beguiles with his sophisticated and highly refined sculptures, layered with meaning. He was born in Porirua and is of Pākeha and Māori descent (Ngā Ariki). Parekowhai studied at Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland, where he gained his BFA in 1990, and later his MFA in 2000. In 2001 he was awarded an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate in 2001 and his work is held in significant public and private collections throughout New Zealand and Australia. Parekowhai is based in Auckland where he is a professor of Fine Arts at Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland.

Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, based in scenic Titirangi, is West Auckland’s regional art gallery. After two years of redevelopment, Te Uru opened on Saturday 1st November 2014 in a purpose-built new building as part of the Lopdell Precinct. Te Uru receives core funding from the Waitakere Ranges Local Board of Auckland Council.