Responding to Ron Te Kawa’s exhibition, Hīnātore: A Love Story, Sarah Hudson explores the importance of play and frivolity in contemporary Māori art practice.
The benchmark for contemporary Māori art is often set at ‘perfect’. Decades of slick and immaculately executed works forged a pathway for an ongoing lineage of Māori artists to take their place in the art world. Alongside this refined aesthetic is also an almost overbearing tone of seriousness. The seriousness denotes respect, it speaks of grappling with the impacts of colonisation, it shows the importance of our customary practices and sets the expectation to the audience for a reciprocal tone of solemnity.
In this Ockham Lecture, Sarah Hudson will delve into the works of three Māori practitioners who employ fun, play and frivolity to explore pūrakau (customary narratives) and express their lived experiences. Maungarongo Te Kawa, Ayesha Green and Turumeke Harrington harness play as a tool to explore, to learn, to connect and to share. Their approach is rare amongst their contemporary Māori art peers.
This lecture will lay down a challenge for frivolity to be taken seriously.
Sarah Hudson (Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Pūkeko) is an artist, researcher and mum living below Kaputerangi in Whakatāne.
Alongside her fellow soil enthusiasts from Whakatāne, Sarah founded Kauae Raro Research Collective in 2019. Over the past 18 months, they’re dedicated their practices to relearning and embodying the ways their tīpuna used earth pigments as an art material, in ceremony and as rongoā (medicine).
Sarah is also a member of Mata Aho Collective who have exhibited extensively since their first exhibition and residency at Enjoy in 2012. Inspired by customary Māori textile practices and industrial materials, Mata Aho creates large-scale installations with a single-authorship. The collective is nominated for the 2021 Walters Prize and is currently exhibiting its 2020 installation, Atapō, at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.