Te Papa’s new art season opens the glory box

31 March 2015

Te Papa opens a glory box of treasures this Easter as it unveils its fourth season of Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa with eight new shows showcasing the national art collection.

The Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa galleries will be home to a series of ‘mini-shows’ including a display of Te Papa’s rich collection of Cook Islands tīvaevae (quilts), recent acquisitions of contemporary work by Gretchen Albrecht and Fiona Connor, rare historical portraits of Ngāti Toa tūpuna, and works from the late New Zealand photographer Glenn Jowitt.

Te Papa Chief Executive Rick Ellis says art is an incredibly important part of the Te Papa experience.

“Te Papa holds the national art collection on behalf of all New Zealanders,” Mr Ellis says.

“We are committed to bringing the art collection to the broadest possible audience. We regularly change the art on show so the public see more art, more often.”

“With eleven shows in the one season we’ve got something for everyone in Ngā Toi.”

Senior art curator Sarah Farrar says this season’s exhibition contains a number of firsts for Te Papa.

“This is the first time we’ve worked collaboratively with our iwi-in-residence, Ngāti Toa Rangitira, to develop an art exhibition as part of Ngā Toi. Their connections mean we’re able to bring the public some fantastic whanau loans in the Ngāti Toa exhibition of historical portraits. A number of these portraits have never been seen outside the iwi before,” Ms Farrar says.

“The Cook Island tīvaevae show is our largest ever exhibition of the precious tīvaevae collection and celebrates the skill and expertise of Cook Islands women,” she says.

Auckland photographer, Glenn Jowitt, who died last year, is honoured in a special display of his photographs. Jowitt spent over 30 years photographing the people of the Pacific Islands, and published more than 70 books and booklets in his lifetime.

Ms Farrar says the new season of art weaves together the new and the historical, the traditional and the experimental, through a range of media including textiles, sculpture, painting and photography.

“Te Papa’s art collection is expansive. It includes painting, photography, tāonga Māori, Pacific art, textiles, furniture, and so much more.

“People can find an art work with relevance to them; with personal meaning. It might be an abstract art work, but equally it could be an everyday object like a chair or quilt.”

Ms Farrar said Te Papa wanted to encourage new audiences into the gallery with family activities, floor talks, and late night slow art evenings.

Some recently acquired art is also on display for the first time, including contemporary art by one of New Zealand’s most iconic living artists, Gretchen Albrecht, alongside up-and-comers Fiona Connor and Andrew Barber.

Ngā Toi I Arts Te Papa opens 2 April and runs until October 2015
Level 5. Free entry, free audio guide.

Photo opportunities

An opening blessing will be held at 9am, 2 April, to officially open the new season of art at Te Papa.

Te Papa will celebrate the new season with an exciting range of curator and artist floor talks and family art activities in the Level 5 galleries on 11 and 12 April 2015.

Media contact

Jenny Bridgen, Senior Communications Adviser
04 381 7752 or 022 0100 901

Overview of the exhibitions at Ngā Toi I Arts Te Papa

Tīvaevae: Out of the glory box
Celebrates the art of Cook Islands quilting through Te Papa’s significant collection of tīvaevae.

Glenn Jowitt: Photographing the Pacific
Honours the work of the late Glenn Jowitt, who spent more than 30 years photographing Pacific peoples.

Splash! Four contemporary New Zealand paintings
Showcases new acquisitions by Gretchen Albrecht, Andrew Barber, Fiona Connor, and Allen Maddox that explore painting and mark-marking both in and out of the studio.

Two Artists: Emily Karaka & Shona Rapira Davies
Profiles the work and legacy of two senior Māori artists who opened space for Māori women art makers in the 1980s.

Ngāti Toa Rangatira: He iti whetu | Ngāti Toa portraits
Historical portraits of Ngāti Toa reveal remarkable stories of encounter in the colonial years of Aotearoa New Zealand.

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

Being Modern: The Gallery of Helen Hitchings
Introduces the glamorous mid-century Wellington taste-maker Helen Hitchings and her ground-breaking gallery of modern art and design.

Louis Rosenberg: Etched into memory
An intimate view of the enticing etchings of American artist and architect Louis Rosenberg.

Out 30 April, Te Papa’s accompanying quarterly art e-zine, Off the Wall, will feature lively essays, interviews, and art commentary, including:

• Te Papa senior curator Sarah Farrar interviews Billy Apple
• Curator Mary Kisler interviews iconic New Zealand artist Gretchen Albrecht
• Te Papa curator Lissa Mitchell on a Burton Brothers’ photograph of Lake Te Anau from Framing the View
• Te Papa curator Mark Stocker’s essay: ‘Place, space, and grace: Louis Rosenberg and the etching revival’
• An interview with the late Glenn Jowitt (Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa Autumn 2015 Season’s Artist in Focus) on his photos in Te Papa’s collection
• A personal essay by Yvonne Underhill-Sem and June Underhill, daughters of one of the tīvaevae makers whose work is on show in Tīvaevae: Out of the glory box
• Te Papa curator Megan Tamati-Quennell interviews artists Emily Karaka and Shona Rapira Davies, and
• Art writer Megan Dunn on Splash! Four contemporary New Zealand paintings.