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Mahara Arts Review 2015


Current Exhibitions

Shimmer moon, Prakash Patel 

19 July – 23 August

IMAGE: Astronaut by Prakash Patel (detail), 'Shimmer Moon' exhibition.

Prakash Patel has been exploring the unique paintings of the Warli, a tribal group living in the State of Gujarat, India, near where his family’s ancestral origins. His grandfather emigrated to New Zealand in 1924 and his parents arrived in New Zealand in the 1950s. 

When visiting his parent’s village in 2006 he noticed that the local workers had interesting tattoos with stick figures and strange symbols decorating their bodies. The Warli are animists who worship trees, animals and all things in nature. The paintings on the walls of their mud houses depict their daily life of planting and harvesting of rice and other crops, ceremonies, monsoon rains, hunting and fishing. 


Patel often adorns his canvases with intuitively-made symbols and markings and he drew a connection with the Warli’s work. During this last visit he met several  Warli painters who demonstrated their process to him, and found he could immediately relate to its organic and rhythmic application. 


Patel observed that ‘The Warli people have a deep respect for and understanding of nature and their place in it’. For him it has always been a curious observation that people living in close-knit communities appear to be the happiest. 


This new body of work, Shimmer Moon, is based on Patel’s own intuitive response to the world he lives in, and revels in the tremulous dance between black, light and colour. As Sarjeant Gallery curator Greg Donson wrote in 2007, ‘Existing in cultural limbo has at times left Patel feeling as though he belonged neither in India nor Whanganui. It has been through painting that he has been able to chart these territories of the in-between’. 

In the eight years since that was written, Prakash Patel has confirmed his own status as a considerable painter of the inner / outer landscapes of the mind, dancing fluently between a sophisticated formalism and an exploration of the edges 
of conscious thought, where matter, memory, symbolism, rich visual detail, shifts in scale and description deliciously merge in his canvases . 


Prakash Patel was born and raised in Whanganui, and received a Diploma in Visual Arts and Design at Hawke’s Bay Polytechnic in 1993. He remains Whanganui-based, has won several awards in the annual Sarjeant Arts Review, and exhibits in dealer and public galleries nationally. He has made two trips to his parent’s birthplace in the past decade. The first was in 2006 when he held an artist’s residency at the Sanskriti Kendra Campus supported by Creative New Zealand and the Asia New Zealand Foundation. He made his second journey in November 2014, 
also supported by Creative New Zealand. 




Legacy - Whakareretanga, JoAnna Mere

19 July – 23 August

IMAGE: Hikoi The Long Road. Photo credit: Elise Dunn

‘I believe we are all tāngāta whenua/people of the land, 
joined by our love for our land if not by blood.’

JoAnna Mere (Ngāti Porou) is an environmental jeweller who works primarily in found metal from the marine and nature reserves of Kāpiti where she now lives. She draws on contemporary and traditional concepts and techniques to create three dimensional forms that explore the visceral and spiritual connections between people and te whenua. Her land and body jewellery promotes the concept of shared guardianship for our country within the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi - protection, partnership and participation.  


Through her social arts practice JoAnna Mere aims to provide a metaphorical marae; a conceptual and physical meeting place for people to hui/gather, kōrerorero/discuss and create environmental solutions together. Her workshops engage viewers to become kaitiaki/active guardians as they upcycle waste materials and sustainable resources into community taonga/treasures.
JoAnna Mere worked for Creative New Zealand for many years before going overseas to live and work in Europe, U.S.A. and the U.K. Returning to New Zealand she started a family (she calls her two sons her best artworks yet!) and is in her final year of studying for a Bachelor of Applied Art with Whitireia NZ. She will then go on to complete her Māori Art and Design diploma with Whakarongotai Marae.
Whakareretanga has dual meanings: ‘legacy’ or ‘inheritance’.  It can also mean ‘reject, an item thrown away, or the process of abandonment’. Legacy/Whakareretanga is JoAnna Mere’s first solo exhibition.


Previous Exhibitions

Art Night Pō Whakaatu Toi

We celebrated the Matariki Wellington Festival with a fabulous Art Night. Mahara joined forces with other special late night openings at galleries across the Wellington region, Te Papa, The Dowse (Lower Hutt),  Expressions (Upper Hutt) and Pataka (Porirua).


At Mahara, we had a one night only Youth artist exhibtion Tiaho mai- Shine forth,  held at the local marae. Exhibitions,  He Toi Reikorangi- Te Atiawa artists celebrate Matariki . There was also Kapahaka performances by a local school, music by Matiu Te Huki and Kua Ranea  Aperahama, a lighting display through Mahara place and  airbrush tattoos by Dwight Fraser in the gallery.  


He Toi Reikorangi - Te Atiawa Artists Celebrate Matariki at Mahara

Mahara featured 25 leading Te Atiawa artists residing throughout the country to Waikanae, providing a range of both traditional and contemporary work which is a celebration of shared whakapapa. Most of them have exhibited Internationally and continue to do so.


“He Toi Reikorangi” has a few meanings such as A Beautiful Treasure / A Little bit of Heaven. Reikorangi is also the hill above Waikanae which looks down onto Waikanae. This is also a reference back to Matariki (Heaven, being the stars in the sky).


Image: Kuini 2015 New Zealand, British and Cook Island Coins. Courtesy of Matthew McIntyre-Wilson


The exhibition included the following artists:
Brett Rangitaawa, Chris Gerretzen, Darcy Nicholas, Erena Baker, Erika Muna Lee, Gabrielle Belz, Hemi Sundgren, Kereama Taepa, Kohai Grace, Lisa Tamati, Maria Brockhill, Matthew McIntyre-Wilson, Mitchell Hughes, Ngahina Hohaia, Ngatai Taepa, Pip Devonshire, Rakairoa Hori, Rangi Kipa, Tania Niwa, Taryn Beri, Tracey Morgan, Veranoa Hetet, Wi Taepa, Snooks Forster


A Micronaut in the Wide World: The Imaginative Life and Times of Graham Percy

Exhibition developed and curated by Gregory O’Brien in partnership with

Exhibition Services Ltd.


Happy birthday Frances Hodgkins


Five works loaned by the Field Collection Trust and Avenal McKinnon


Exhibition runs until Sunday  June 7  2015 



The New Zealand Artist Abroad, 2003, ink and pencil, 760 x 560 mm. Wellington City Council Art Collection. Used with permission of the Estate of Graham Percy.



Frances Mary Hodgkins (1869-1947)

A Fortune Teller [The Fortune Teller], 1896. Courtesy of the Field Collection TrusT


Summer Classics

A suite of six paintings on loan from Avenal McKinnon and the Field Collection. 

Francis Hodgkins, Goose Girl, 1905 (Courtesy Field Collection Trust)




20th December 2014 - 1st of Feburary 2015:


Lightness of Being, Michelle Backhouse


Michelle Backhouse, Sway, 2014. Photograph by Helena Fierlinger


(Somewhere) Between, Trevor Pye 


Trevor Pye, Secret Geography, 2014







Upcoming Exhibitions

Retrospective, Bob Bassant

29 August – 27 September


newSPACE >> 
Natural Design, Helena Fierlinger

29 August – 27 September


Mahara Arts Review

3rd October – 1st November


Nga Manu - The Bird

7th November - 13 December


newSPACE >> 
Trevor Wright, Poi Piu - 5 Weavers

(launch 6th November)

7th November - 13 December


Art at Parkwood - Parkwood Trust



Special to Me, Friends of Mahara 
9th August at 12 noon. 

Soup and rolls and a chance to mingle. Wine or juice if you wish. 
Free Entry for Friends; Guests of Friends are welcome: $10.











Gallery Hours

Tuesday - Saturday10am - 4 pm

Sunday1pm - 4pm



Free Entry

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