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Monday, 22 April 2019 11:57 am

Toi Māori Art Market woven in Wellington

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TAONGA: A kahu huruhuru, or precious feather cloak, by master artist Erenora Puketapu-Hetet makes a rare public appearance for the fashion show at Te Papa.

FASHION masters who use Māori and traditional techniques were celebrated on the catwalk over the weekend.

The shows held at Te Papa were a taste of what the Toi Māori Art Market on November 14-16 has to offer.

They paid tribute to master Māori weavers who have passed on, leaving their legacy behind for our new generation of artists.

The masters were Erenora Puketapu-Hetet, Te Aue Takotoroa Davis, Dame Rangimarie Hetet, and Emily Schuster, who was one of the founders of the Māori Arts and Craft Institute.

Wellingtonians Doug Ririnui and Tania Gordon were among the crowd of about 80 people watching the show, and were impressed by the garments.TaniaGordon150

Mr RirinuDougRirinui150i, left, says he had never heard of the Art Market or any of the artists featured at the fashion show.

“I have seen Māori design before, but not of the same quality or so many styles.”

Ms Gordon, right, says she particularly liked the blending of contemporary designs with traditional craft, and thought this made the garments very effective.

Toi Māori Art general manager Garry Nicholas says the featured master weavers have reached a point where people no longer just see their work as either Maori or contemporary art.

“Their work is timeless. If those were woven a hundred years ago, 200 years ago, or yesterday – the consistent theme is that they have pushed their art as far as they could, in that point of time.”

Their creations were followed by styles from contemporary artists who keep skills like working with sealskin, flax weaving and carving alive.

WOVEN YEARS: A creation by Wanganui fashion designer Maehe Ranginui, takes traditional weaving and makes it 21st century avant garde.

Mr Nicholas says the emerging generation of Māori artists is driven to be as authentic as their art heroes while pushing the boundaries of their craft but “not in an aggressive way that smashes what has come before”.

“The young ones have a little watershed of safety and protection. But they know very well there will come a time when they have to step up.”

Toi Art Market is an opportunity for them to do so, presenting works alongside other trailblazers.

All artists at the contemporary Art Market show their work by invitation only.

The event includes invited indigenous artists, and this year creative director Darcy Nicholas invited Canadians Dempsey Bob and Dorothy Grant, and Hawaiian Malie Andrade.

“The ultimate goal is to bring Māori art to the world. Through art and keeping traditional techniques alive, there are threads of friendship between our countries,” says Darcy.

Dorothy Grant, who is of Haida Nation descent, also presented a collection at the Te Papa fashion shows.

“There are many parallels between Māori and Haida culture, the weaving and lines in their art, and with the people. Without a doubt, their generosity.”

Ms Grant draws from her understanding of her Haida background to make her clothes and says while she does not replicate their techniques, her heritage is always recognisable in them.

The three day art market will kick off tomorrow (Friday) at TSB Bank Arena, 10am-5pm.

Entry is $10 at the door or $5 concession.

As a special event, a free exhibition of renowned artist Ralph Hotere’s mural Godwit/Kuaka (1977) is on at City Gallery tomorrow.


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