Tauranga Art Gallery was delighted to announce the opening of Tōku ora, tōku ara, an exhibition by renowned Te Whanganui-a-Tara based artist Shannon Te Ao (Ngāti Tūwharetoa) in October.
Spanning moving image, photography and performance, Te Ao creates work that responds to Māori paradigms, testing the implications of alternative creative, social and linguistic models in relation to the moving image and other performative practices.
Te Ao is creating a major new photographic commission for Tauranga Art Gallery’s atrium which departs from his predominantly black and white palette, translating these concerns into monumental full colour.
Spread across two spaces, the exhibition also includes Te Ao’s notable 2020 moving image work Ka Mua, Ka Muri, which was originally co-commissioned by Remai Modern and Oakville Galleries, Canada.
The title of the work is derived from a whakatauki (proverb) often cited as a guiding principle within Māori ideology.
Meaning “to walk backwards into the future,” it suggests that time exists on a continuum where past, present and future co-exist and are tied together through ancestry and action.
Tauranga Art Gallery Director Stephen Cleland says: “Te Ao’s practice occupies a fascinating intersection of moving image, photography, language, and sound. His new exhibition, devised especially for Tauranga Art Gallery, ups the ante for his investment in photography, through the production of large-scale prints which more than before approximate the scale and ambition of his renowned video installations. We’re thrilled to be enabling the artist to achieve a new scale in his practice for Tauranga audiences.”
Shannon Te Ao is an artist, writer and curator whose current research interests include performance and video art practices. His work has been presented at several important exhibitions globally, including The 10th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT10), QAGOMA, Brisbane (2021-22); The 13th Gwangju Biennale – Minds Rising Spirits Turning (2021); With the sun aglow, I have my pensive moods, The Edinburgh Art Festival (2017); The 11th Gwangju Biennale: The Eighth Climate (What Does Art Do?) (2016); and The 19th Biennale of Sydney: You Imagine What You Desire, curated by Juliana Engberg (2014).
He was the 2016 winner of Aotearoa’s prestigious Walters Prize, and is currently Senior Lecturer, Whiti o Rehua School of Art at Massey University, Pōneke Wellington.