Maori Art in America

Kaitaka 1999 (detail)
Artist: Te Aue Davis; assisted by Bill Solomon
Photo credit: Norman Heke
Image copyright: Toi Maori Aotearoa

I came across this headline in Google News: “Millions in US tune in to Maori art”  
(25.08.05 in New Zealand Herald)
More than 9 million people have been exposed to New Zealand Maori culture and tourism at the recent Maori Art Meets America event in San Francisco. Tourism New Zealand spent $1.5 million preparing the exhibition, which ran for 10 days in the Yerba Buena Centre in central San Francisco this month and will now move on to other sites in the United States. The exhibition, organised in association with Toi Maori Aotearoa, was one of the largest New Zealand-focused events to take place in the United States.

I hadn’t heard anything about this in my blog roams and do wish I’d been there to see it. This exhibition appears fascinating, beginning with a dramatic dawn ceremony of Maori canoes coming in to meet the Ohlone in San Francisco (view slideshow).

I believe the Maori are presently the most organized, recognized and culturally revitalized of all the world’s indigenous people. Art is a tremendously important part of their culture. The site dedicated to this exhibition, Toi Maori, has a lot of interesting articles, photos and additional links. I enjoyed reading about their contemporary art and its evolution:

At the same time as ideas are moving forward, they are also returning. The interest in Maori contemporary art is helping to rekindle the creative energy of past traditions. Fuelled by new technology, the mind-broadening effects of world travel and the freedom to express their opinions, contemporary Maori artists are looking at their tribal histories for inspiration.

Have any readers seen this show? I wonder to which other locations in the USA and perhaps Canada it will be traveling?

August 24, 2005 in Art Exhibitions, Culture by Marja-Leena