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Shona Rapira Davies: Ko Te Kihikihi Taku Ingoa at Govett-Brewster

August 5, 2022–February 28, 2024

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery / Len Lye Centre has begun a program of continuous large-scale commissions, with the first being a new installation by renowned Mori sculptor and senior artist Shona Rapira Davies (Ngti Wai ki Aotea, Aotearoa, New Zealand).

The Len Lye Centre’s cathedral-like entry ramp provides an unparalleled opportunity for artists to create new, major installations.

Drawing, painting, textile art, sculpture, and installation are all included in Shona Rapira Davies’ inventive and multifaceted artistic approach. A portion of Te Aro Pa was reclaimed by Te Waimapihi in central Wellington, one of her outdoor public works, with the help of Te Atiawa.

The year 2022’s Ko Te Kihikihi Taku Ingoa is about sacrifice. It was made in memory of the kids and the tale of Parikaha, the papakainga or Mori village founded in the 1860s during the Taranaki Land Wars, built on a prophecy of peace. It is the artist’s response to the ongoing processes of colonization and industrialization in Taranaki where the Govett-Brewster is located. The Northern story about the whale and the kauri tree, brothers, and the whale giving up his life for the kauri, is interwoven with narratives from her own tribal territory.

“Being able to work with curator Megan Tamati-Quennell and a key team has enabled Shona to turn ideas formed over several decades into reality,” says Govett-Brewster Art Gallery | Len Lye Centre director Dr Zara Stanhope.

Ko Te Kihikihi Taku Ingoa melds Shona’s felt response to the colonial past, which remains omnipresent both locally and globally, with the disturbance to the historic migratory patterns of whales off the Taranaki coastline and the sacrifice of the whale—the largest creature in the ocean—for his brother the kauri—the largest tree in the forest.”

“This is a significant and important work, which has garnered strong support from the community, including New Plymouth District Council, the Govett-Brewster Foundation and its members, Pollen Foundation, and Bowen Galleries, Te Whanganui-a-Tara,” Zara says.

The work is on exhibit in the Len Lye Centre until February 2024.

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
Corner King and Queen Streets
New Plymouth 4342
New Zealand
Hours: Monday–Sunday 10am–5pm
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