Maori paintings gifted to Albany campus

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Six political protest paintings by the renowned artist, Emily Karaka, have been gifted to the Universitys Albany campus from the SkyCity Entertainment Group.

The vibrant, mixed media, expressionist-style works depicting historic tribal and political events in the Auckland region have been on display as a distinctive feature in the lobby of the campus Study Centre for the past 13 years, on loan from SkyCity.

Ms Karaka (Ngati Wai, Waiohua, Ngati Hine), along with representatives from SkyCity, attended a special ceremony at the campus on December 17 to formally gift the paintings and witness Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey signing a deed of transfer.

The paintings, worth between $9000 and $15,000, were offered on loan as a result of SkyCity’s awareness that the-then very new campus was keen to feature new artwork as part of a cohesive collection it wanted to build up, says SkyCity Government and Industry Affairs manager Andrew Gaukrodger

SkyCity decided to gift the paintings to the University after discussions with the campus Visual Arts Committee, chaired by Professor Kerry Chamberlain.

“It was right thing to do, Mr Gaukrodger said. The paintings have been well-looked after and they look great where they are displayed.

Mr Maharey said that the gesture by SkyCity underscored the University’s commitment to art and the ongoing development of a public art collection on campus. It also highlights the importance to the University of developing partnerships of mutual benefit with community, iwi and industry.

He described Ms Karaka’s work as “extraordinary”, saying it captured the spirit of vitality of M?ori art that sprang from the 1980s. On another level, the presence of the works signalled the University’s commitment to celebrating M?ori cultural traditions, and its recognition of and support for iwi capacity as an emerging economic force that will shape the country’s future.

Ms Karaka was born in Auckland and lives on Waiheke Island. A self-taught artist, she has been exhibiting her work since 1980. Her work is often political and draws on both M?ori and European art traditions. The Treaty of Waitangi and other indigenous issues are themes embodied in much of her work.

The titles of the paintings are: Te Wai o Huia (1996), Ngai Tai (1996), Te Ipu Kura a Maki (1996), Ngati Paoa (1996), Te Kawerau a Maki (1996) and Te Taou (1996).

Created: 25/01/2011 | Last updated: 25/01/2011

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