History meets art in Tauranga

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Tauranga Art Gallery Toi Tauranga in partnership with Seeds Trust is delighted to announce the opening of Folk Nationalism, an exhibition of new paintings by Tāmaki Makaurau-based artist Ayesha Green (Ngāti Kahungunu, Kai Tahu).

Folk Nationalism will be presented across Tauranga Art Gallery’s ground level galleries and features a substantial new body of paintings developed by Green over the past year. Her large scale canvases and works on paper interrogate histories of Māori and Pākehā representation and the role that images and language play in perpetuating systems of power.

While Green’s paintings are often characterised by her simple rendition of figures and forms, they represent a bold approach to issues concerning her Māori whakapapa – passed down through women over four generations. Green’s work has been profiled in important exhibitions, including a solo presentation at Dunedin Art Gallery and participation in the major 2020 survey of contemporary Māori art, Toi Tū Toi Ora.

Ayesha Green
Photo/Jameela George

Green is the second recipient of the prestigious bi-annual Rydal Art Prize, for which she received $25,000 and the opportunity to develop this exhibition for Tauranga Art Gallery’s 2022 programme. Established in 2019 to acknowledge an artist who has made a substantial contribution to contemporary painting, the non-acquisitive award celebrates the vitality that painting continues to have within the diverse contemporary art field in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Tauranga Art Gallery Director Stephen Cleland says: “We’re thrilled that the Prize has enabled Ayesha to develop this ambitious body of work that traverses reclaimed and re-presented moments and movements in Aotearoa’s history.

“As the inaugural venue to present this entirely new body of paintings by Green, it’s exciting to see unveil new developments in her practice and see a focused and concentrated dialogue with a longer history of painting in Aotearoa emerge, from Marcus King’s 1938 history painting depicting the signing of the treaty to several pioneers of contemporary painting across the 20th Century. In each Green teases out conflicting histories and how they continue to form our national identity.”

Related: Premier local Bay artists are recognised

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