Photography focus in Te Papa’s new art season

5 November 2015

The largest photography exhibition Te Papa has ever held will open tomorrow, as part of the new season of Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa.

Showcasing around 300 rare and fascinating photographs from Te Papa’s extensive collection, New Zealand Photography Collected delves into New Zealand’s photographic heritage from the 1850s through to today.

Ranging from the iconic, to the popular and personal, the exhibition includes works by influential photographers such as Brian Brake, Anne Noble, and Gavin Hipkins, and coincides with the launch of a new Te Papa Press book, New Zealand Photography Collected, by Te Papa Photography Curator Athol McCredie.

“These photographs have been chosen for their depth, richness and resonance. In a world saturated with images, we are used to the quick flick – but these reward repeated viewings,” says Mr McCredie.

“Their power is lasting because they sustain multiple meanings and interpretations – which is exactly why they are in a museum collection.”

Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa is a changing programme of exhibitions showcasing the national art collection, more often, and in rich and innovative ways.

Alongside the major showcase of photography, an exhibition of contemporary art, Open Home, explores ideas of home and identity.

“This season of Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa reveals yet another fascinating layer of the national art collection,” says Te Papa Senior Art Curator Sarah Farrar.

“Te Papa’s broad and diverse arts collections enable us to offer a range of art experiences. There’s always something new for visitors to engage with, along with treasured favourites from the collection.”

The new season will also showcase a selection of impressive large-scale landscape prints by 19th-century American photographer, Carleton Watkins.

An important new addition to Te Papa’s art collection will also be on display for the first time. William Strutt’s View of Mt Egmont, Taranaki, New Zealand, taken from New Plymouth, with Maoris driving off settlers’ cattle is a rare 1861 oil painting that reflects the conflict between Māori and colonists in Taranaki during the New Zealand Wars.

“Art is an extremely important part of the Te Papa experience, and it’s wonderful to bring the national collection to as many people as we can through vibrant new seasons of Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa like this,” says Te Papa Chief Executive Rick Ellis.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for visitors to be able to immerse themselves in more of the national art collection, with many of the works helping tell important stories from our shared history.”

With four brand new exhibitions, and five refreshed galleries, the new season of Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa is free to visit, and opens on 6 November.

Photo opportunity

Media are invited to experience the new season of Nga Toi | Arts Te Papa when it opens tomorrow at 10am. Interested media need to register their attendance with Te Papa’s communications team today.

Media contact

Rebecca Edwards
029 601 0010

Overview of the exhibitions in the new season of Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa

New Zealand Photography Collected

Brings hundreds of rare and fascinating photographs onto the gallery walls. From 19th-century portraits to family snapshots, and dramatic landscapes to modern art photography, this inspiring exhibition includes works by luminaries such as Alfred Burton, Brian Brake, Marti Friedlander, Laurence Aberhart, Anne Noble, and Gavin Hipkins. The exhibition coincides with a lavish new book from Te Papa Press, New Zealand Photography Collected, written by Te Papa curator Athol McCredie.

Visitors are being invited to pick or take a photo they think people will want to see in 100 years’ time and tag it on Instagram with #tepapaphoto. The best photos will be displayed on-screen in the Level 5 gallery space.

Carleton Watkins

Te Papa celebrates the 150 year anniversary of the museum with a selection of large-scale prints by one of the foremost American photographers of the 1800s, Carleton Watkins. The director of the Colonial Museum, James Hector, acquired the prints in 1888.

Open Home

Showcases works by Derrick Cherrie, L.Budd, Julian Dashper, and others, that explore what happens when homes go ‘on display’.

Upfront: Unsettling (6 Nov to 17 Jan)

Focuses on a rare 1861 oil painting by William Strutt reflecting the conflict between Māori and colonists in Taranaki during the New Zealand Wars – a major recent addition to Te Papa’s collection.

Ngāti Toa Rangatira: He iti whetu | Ngāti Toa Portraits

Reveals remarkable stories of encounter in the colonial years of Aotearoa New Zealand, through historical portraits of the Ngāti Toa iwi (tribe).

Framing the view

Depicts the wondrous yet unforgiving landscape in which immigrants to New Zealand made their homes, and their efforts to become familiar with this strange new environment.

New Visions New Zealand

Offers a fresh look at modern New Zealand painting through the eyes of a generation of highly imaginative female artists.

Being Modern: Helen Hitchings

Presents the glamorous taste-maker Helen Hitchings and her ground-breaking Wellington gallery of modern art and design.

Te Ao Hou | Modern Māori Art

Explores the ‘new Māori art’ of the late 1940s to the early 1970s, and the dual role many ‘Māori modernists’ played as art educators.