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Ko Murihiku Tōku Whaea, Southern Mother

Where: PATAKA Art + Museum, Cnr Parumoana and Norrie St, Porirua - Mana, Wellington Region

Restrictions: All Ages

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Listed by: rachel8mp

A group exhibition featuring the work of three artists with connections to Southland (Murihaka, the Great Southern Mother). Artists Kyla Cresswell, Emma Kitson and Kim Lowe pay tribute to the region that nurtured their artistic talents and values.

According to the artists, the Murihiku region gives the sense of being ‘lightly tethered to the wildland beneath’. At the coast, there are vast skies, far-reaching horizon lines, and expansive sea. Inland, landforms loom high and mountain caps feed the bitterly cold awa. The rich resources of the area have attracted generations of people, however, the harsh climate has put off just as many. Among Southlanders exists a strong social fabric where your whakapapa — along with the weather — is often the first topic of introduction.

Emma Riha Kitson is a descendant of Kai Tahu ki Murihiku, Kyla Cresswell and Kim Lowe both grew up in Murihiku, descendants of Southland settlers. The three met at the Dunedin School of Art in 1993 and over the following decades, while each followed different paths, all gravitated towards the process-heavy technique of printmaking.

Emma says she loves the egalitarian nature of printmaking and its connections to historical revolutionary movements. “I also enjoy just getting to play with knives!” she says. Kyla likes the progression from mark-making to printed image, and the distinctive elements each printmaking process gives to the image. For Kim, it is all about working in reverse and taking tiny steps following a traditional and time-laden process.

Kyla has recently returned to Murihiku, while Kim lives in Ōtautahi and Emma is based in Te-Whanganui-a-Tara.

According to Wikipedia: The name Murihiku means ‘the tail end (of the land)’, literally muri is ‘the end of’ and hiku, ‘the tail’. In 1861, when Southland became a province, the settler population wanted to retain the name ‘Murihiku’, but this was ignored by the then Governor Thomas Gore Browne.

Please note Pataka's Sunday opening hours: 11am - 4:30pm

Image credits:
Emma Kitson, Kanohi x kanohi, 2020. A diptych, Kia atawhai (Be kind), Noho ki te kāika (Stay at home).
Kyla Cresswell, Lull, 2021. Drypoint and watercolour
Kim Lowe, Asemic, 2021. Acid etching

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