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WATCH: Contemporary twists to Maori art forms

Jan 1st, 2015 | By | Category: Featured Article, Features

THE BIENNIAL Toi Maori Art Market came back to Wellington with a collection of some of the best Maori and indigenous art.

Event organiser, Toi Maori Art Trust, curated works which keep traditional art forms alive and works which take indigenous art into the future.

Neon dazzles, shape-shifting holographic portraits, and pop art referencing Star Wars and comic book heroes places some of the art on display firmly in the 21st century.

Auckland based artist Shane Hansen is one of 200 artists showcased at the three-day exhibition at the TSB Bank Arena.

“I got connected with my Maori side relatively late in my life, but my background and where I grew up definitely plays a big part in my paintings.”

Mr Hansen, who is of Maori, Chinese and Irish descent, has also created art using the iconic Buzzy Bee, coffee machines, guitars and even carpets.

Taranaki based artist Paora Tiatoa debuted his designs at the art market.

“I think anything can be explored in Maori art, as long as you are respectful,” says Mr Tiatoa.

The spotlight was on visual arts, but performers were invited to take to the stage with spoken word performances, storytelling and smooth tunes to entertain the crowds.

A fashion show also gave a nod to masters of traditional craft, and emerging Maori designers.

The late renowned artist Ralph Hotere’s mural Godwit/Kuaka (1977) will also feature at a related event.

Luxury cars were a canvas for designs specially commissioned for this year’s market, and there was also Maori art literally at your fingertips.

Gisborne artist Terangi Kutia-Tataurangi uses her fine arts background to turn her stylised landscapes into a form people can take wherever you go.

At the art market, Ms Kutia-Tataurangi showcased her Toimaikuku, or Maori nail art, and took bookings.

“Although it’s small, toimaikuku can get a conversation going about Maori art and culture, people want to know more and are always asking about the designs they pick.”

“It’s turning the familiar into something with a bit of history,” she says.

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