Taika Waititi Narrates Video Launching Major Māori Art Show
7 December 2020
The video was created by Chelsea Winstanley, director of a forthcoming documentary on the sprawling survey of Māori contemporary art.
Maureen Lander, Wai o te Marama (2004). Harakeke, muka, nylon line, fluorescent paint, UV lighting. Courtesy the artist and Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.
The actor and director behind films such as Jojo Rabbit and Thor: Ragnarok is one of 111 artists represented in the show at New Zealand's largest art institution. Others include Lisa Reihana, Shane Cotton, Michael Parekowhai, and Maree Sheehan, who also composed the music used in the video.
Toi Tū Toi Ora (meaning 'to stand tall and healthy') features more than 300 artworks created over the past seven decades, including new commissions by Emily Karaka, Sandy Adsett, and the Mata Aho Collective. The exhibition, which foregrounds Māori mythology, ways of knowing, and identity, begins with the birth of the universe—the subject of the three-and-a-half minute video.
'Te Kore, the great nothingness, the empty void,' Waititi begins in his narration before describing the separation of sky father Ranginui and earth mother Papatūānuku that created Te Ao Mārama, the world of light and life.
Directed by Chelsea Winstanley, the video features extreme close-ups of works such as Robert Jahnke's neon light sculpture Ripeka Kōwhai (2015) and Maureen Lander's glow-in-the-dark flax and nylon apron Wai o te Marama (2004), which are exhibited in a darkened exhibition hall. Winstanley, who produced Jojo Rabbit and What We Do in the Shadows, is creating a documentary about Toi Tū Toi Ora.
Nigel Borell, curator of Māori art, said he had employed the creation narrative as 'a way to enter into a conversation about the importance of Māori art and artists, and to explore what unites these artists across space and time.' —[O]