These prints have been released by Brett Graham in association with the exhibition Tai Moana, Tai Tangata.
This print references the work Maungārongo ki te Whenua, Maungārongo ki te Tangata, the full-scale wagon carrying a fully carved pataka in the exhibition Tai Moana, Tai Tangata. The work honours the tactics of Taranaki Māori leaders to ensure the livelihood of their people and commemorates the peaceful policies of Taranaki prophets and their campaigns of passive resistance. The pattern on the print draws on the Te Ātiawa style of carving and the Motunui pataka panels recovered from wetlands near Waitara.
This print directly references the sculpture O'Pioneer which is modelled on the gun turrets of the Pioneer, one of the armed steamers commissioned by the New Zealand Government to invade the Waikato in 1863. Today the twin gun turrets of the Pioneer serve as war memorials in the Waikato. O'Pioneer is a memorial to Victorian England and its veneer of civility. The surfaces of the gun turret are elaborately embellished with a cast relief ornamental pattern in white plaster referencing classic Victoriana wallpaper pattens and royal (egg white) icing so named after the decoration of the wedding cake of Queen Victoria in 1840—the year that Māori and the Crown signed the Treaty of Waitangi.
Black Shroud (Purutapu Pōuriuri) references the work of the same name in Tai Moana Tai Tangata. Black Shroud is both a wedding train and widow's veil, referencing the veil of mourning worn by Queen Victoria for 30 years following the death of her husband in 1861— a time when preparations to invade the Waikato were underway. This patterns in the black quilted textile reference the regimental flags and hatchments displayed in St Mary's Church (Taranaki Cathedral of St Mary currently closed for earthquake strengthening) and the battle- ments represent the armed forces that fought against Māori in Taranaki. The church, in the shadow of military headquarters located on Marsland Hill, operated as a shelter for settlers in times of warfare during the 1860s.
Tukua te Karakia ki te Ao
This print references the 10 metre tall niu pole sculpture, Cease tide of wrong-doing, shown at the Govett Brewster Art Gallery. The sculpture recalls the niu poles of the Pai Mārire movement - a Māori religious faith established in Taranaki during the New Zealand War. The title of the print may be translated as send a prayer to the world. The square cross, which has been found across various cultures since antiquity, has been a reoccurring motif across Graham's practice over the past two decades. It is frequently seen to represent planet earth or the four seasons or four tides. While this work is a print, each has hand-drawn hatching across the background which Graham will add to the drawing on order.
Press release courtesy Bartley & Company Art.