Tanya Ashken

Over the last 60 years, Tanya Ashken has produced a remarkable body of work as a sculptor, silversmith, and jeweller. Her practice responds to the energy and rhythms of the world around her.

This group of works highlights the diversity of Ashken’s practice.

When | Āhea

23 Sep 2022 – 19 May 2024

Where | Ki hea

Toi Art, Level 5

Cost | Te utu

Free entry


All ages

Accessibility | E wātea ana ki
  • Wheelchair accessible

  • One work on a low plinth without barriers

Find out more about accessibility at Te Papa

Tanya Ashken was born in London in 1939. She began silversmithing at the age of 13, before studying sculpture in London and Paris. In 1963, Ashken moved to Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington with her husband, the New Zealand artist John Drawbridge.

Five pendants showcase her skill as a jewellery maker and silversmith. These are displayed alongside Kotuku – a carved kauri sculpture which Ashken made shortly after arriving in Aotearoa, and which responds to the shapes and movements of a kōtuku (white heron). A scale model of Ashken’s sculpture Albatross is also on display. Albatross is a public sculpture that sits by Whairepo Lagoon on Wellington’s waterfront. The work’s three abstracted forms are inspired by the southern seabird.

Ashken wrote, in 2016: ‘I feel strongly involved with the natural rhythms and forces of the earth, with the tensions of stones and the tensions of seabirds, the power of natural light and the course of the earth’s movement.’

Header image

Tanya Ashken, Pendant and chain, 1963, sterling silver, mother of pearl. Te Papa (2016-0013-1)

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