New two-level Toi Art gallery opens at Te Papa

By Mānia Clarke

Toi Art, Te Papa's new art gallery is set to open this evening.  The two-level gallery is the length of fifteen rugby fields and incorporates a focus on Māori and also Pacific art that is touted to be a game changer for art in New Zealand.

Head of Art Charlotte Davey says the new Toi Art gallery was formed because they wanted to increase the profile of art at Te Papa significantly.

Tūrangawaewae: Art and New Zealand is one of two exhibitions at the Toi Art Gallery.

“Tūrangawaewae is an exploration of the national art collection through the lens of cross-cultural identity and conversations across culture, that ranges in timespan from the 1800's right through to the present,” says Davy.

“There are five galleries within the Tūrangawaewae Art and New Zealand exhibition,” says the curator of Mātauranga Māori, Matariki Williams.

Ngā Tai Whakarongorua/Encounters is the name of one galleries.

“The essence of the artwork is when you look at these paintings, what does it invoke within you, what is it saying to you?  What does it mean to Māori and Pākehā also.  There are many paintings of Māori in this exhibition.  We don't know who some of them are or where they're from but we hope to maintain their mana and integrity,” says Williams.

Pacific Sisters: Fashion Activists is the second exhibition and celebrates mana wāhine, indigenous identities, and their influence over the past 26 years.

Doors open to the public tomorrow morning.