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Kiingi Tuheitia Portraiture Exhibition Announced

Media release 

Kiingi Tuheitia Portraiture Exhibition Announced


Tūhura Otago Museum is opening a new exhibition of the finalists of the Kiingi Tuheitia Portraiture Award in the Museum’s Tāngata Whenua gallery.

“We are really excited about having the artworks here, particularly in this very special space. The works provide colour and light and compliment the dark and moody narrative of the gallery”, said Tūhura Otago Museum Assistant Curator Māori, Lana Arun, who helped to facilitate the exhibition at the Museum. 

Featuring paintings, whakairo (carving), raranga (weaving), photography, and ceramics, all the works are portraits of the artists’ tūpuna (ancestors). “The works are beautiful, and I love the modern interpretation of how tūpuna are displayed. We think the public will be moved by this poignant and emotional exhibition”, Ms Arun continued.

The Award, in honour of Kiingi Tuheitia and created in partnership with Kiingitanga and the New Zealand Portraiture Gallery, was open to emerging Māori artists who have either created an artwork within the last two years, or wished to create an artwork especially for the competition, using any visual medium, with whakapapa connections to the depicted tūpuna.

 “This competition is a chance for Māori artists to shine and the Kiingitanga is proud to support the arts in this way. Sharing our whakapapa through art has always been important for our people. This award continues in that tradition and seeks to provide Te Iwi Māori with an opportunity to engage in a new kaupapa that is exciting,” said Archdeacon Ngira Simmonds, Ranga Tiki (Chief of Staff) for the office of The Kiingitanga.

The exhibition features two Otago artists, Hemi Hosking-Kereopa and Ngahina Belton-Bodsworth, among 50 pieces including the Award Winner, Bodie Friend.

 “We were delighted to tautoko the idea of weaving contemporary portraits amongst taonga already on display in the Museum. The showing is particularly special for finalist artists from Te Wai Pounamu and we are very grateful for the support of Kai Tāhu and Otago Museum in hosting the exhibition. It allows audiences from the South Island to experience our inaugural national award, which will run every two years with a first prize of $20,000, made possible with the support and patronage of Kiingi Tuheitia.”, said Director of the New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakaata, Jaenine Parkinson.

It will be open from Monday 13 June until 22 January 2023, in the first and only showing in the South Island.


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