10 years since graduating with Media Arts degrees from Wintec - Aull, Elliott and Ratana return with an exhibition at Ramp Gallery that explores being and identity, and brings the activity of study for tangata whenua in a westernised educational system into focus.
Ārai examines the barriers and institutional frameworks that continue to colonise and allow a lack of visibility and cultural ignorance to surface. Absence opens up room for historical truths to be remade and re-invented through colonial mechanisms and institutional thinking. In an attempt to shift these imbalances, Ārai will provide opportunities for kōrero and exchange to occur, affording the artists and participants the time and space to reclaim their place and to lay down new paths for deeper connection and understanding.
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Margaret Aull - Tuwharetoa.Te Rarawa.Fiji
Margaret Aull is based in Te Awamutu, Aotearoa and has been an active agent in the community and Arts sector. She has been exhibiting work consistently for over a decade that has seen her exhibit solo and group shows in Aotearoa and the Pacific. She has presented her research and work in Hawaii, U.K and Fiji and was a graduate of Wintec in 2007, going on to do her Masters of fine Arts at Whitecliffe School of Art and Design.
“Aull is part of a generation of female artists who continue to challenge the status quo and the balance of power within their communities. Aull’s work provides a platform for dialogue that contributes to contemporary Maori and Pacific arts discourse.” ( The Way Home - 2014)
Zena Elliott - Ngāti Awa
Zena Elliott was born in Whakatāne and raised in Te Teko and currently lives and works in Hamilton, Waikato. Elliott’s large-scale paintings channel both the past and the present to provoke discussion surrounding indigenous culture and identity in contemporary rural and urban environments. Equally her works borrow from modes of contemporary urban culture, referencing both rural and contemporary society. Elliott pays homage to graffiti culture and contemporary street murals through her use of commercial paints, applied with elaborate stencils on large-scale works. Her use of eye-catching, electric colours alludes to the culture of advertising and signage and is an attempt to magnify notions of indigenous culture and identity.
Aimee Ratana - Tūhoe
Aimee Ratana currently lives in Hamilton. She gained a Bachelor of Media Arts, from Waikato Institute of Technology in 2003 and went on to complete a Masters in Māori Visual Arts at Massey University. Ratana contributed works to adorn Te Wharehou O Tuhoe, (the Tuhoe Tribal Building) which opened in 2014.
Her works look to explicitly reinforce the principals of mana motuhake and rangatiratanga as aspirational future aims. Exploring notions of collective memory and presence and the importance of whakapapa (genealogy). They provide visual links to the past, present and future.