The degree of skill that’s involved in making a korowai (cloak) for example is phenomenal, and it should be recognised as just as artistic as a van Gogh or Rembrandt.
If you are interested in weaving, the exhibition Raraka Taiao: Naturally Ngai Tahu started yesterday (Wednesday 4 April) and goes until 15 April. Ngai Tahu weavers will showcase contemporary weaving, using only natural materials and dyes. Their work will be for sale, and the exhibition will feature weavers in action, so you will get to see their skills up close.
Whetu Marama Tirikātene-Sullivan passed away in July. She is renowned as the first Māori woman cabinet minister. But she also had a major influence in the world of fashion and design, as this article Snapshot: A Māori Fashion Designer in the Berg Fashion Library reveals:
She commissioned a large number of garments incorporating Māori motifs by contemporary Māori artists, such as Sandy Adsett, Para Matchitt, Cliff Whiting, and Frank Davis. She wore these at her many public engagements, and they were generally regarded as her signature style. For many New Zealanders this was the first time they had seen such traditional elements in a new context.
An exquisite selection of traditional and contemporary woven garments were elegantly paraded by a small team of quick change artists last Saturday at the launch of Christchurch City Libraries Matariki celebrations at South Library. The parade was narrated by the well-known weaver Ranui Ngarimu.
We learned the historical significance of the old cloaks, the prestigious events they have been used at and the craftmanship involved in their creation. The older cloaks were a testament to much painstaking and faithful restoration while the contemporary items displayed the enormous creative flair of Ranui and other local weavers including the hugely talented Paula Rigby. Read an interview with Paula here.
For those of you who missed this wonderful opportunity there will be a repeat of the event at New Brighton Library tomorrow at 1pm. The sheer logistics of transporting these delicate costumes to the library has involved a committed group whose efforts deserve great credit. I think the library will provide a stunning backdrop to this window on Māori craftsmanship. Don’t miss it.