Stevei Houkāmau, (Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau ā Apanui, Rangitāne descent) who will present at the 2022 Aotearoa Art Fair with Masterworks Gallery, has two significant exhibitions opening this month (June), one featuring her own artwork and one which she has curated. The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū, will be presenting a solo exhibition of Houkāmau’s uku (clay) works, including several new pieces. At the same time, at Masterworks Gallery in Tāmaki Makaurau, Houkāmau will curate Te Matapihi, bringing together works by Neke Moa (who will also present at the Aotearoa Art Fair with Masterworks Gallery), Xoë Hall, Jaime Berry, Isaac Te Awa, Victor Te Paa, Shainey Moreli, Mirima Grace-Smith, Gina Kiel, Suzanne Tamaki, Terence, Turner, Kerimei Zagrobelna and herself. More information about both exhibitions can be found below.
Ira Tangata Ira Atua 18 June – 2 October 2022, The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū
Ira Tangata Ira Atua is a solo exhibition of uku (clay) works by Wellington based Ngāti Porou Uku artist Stevei Houkāmau.
Her uku (clay) practice is distinctive for its carved surface designs that draw upon the indigenous tattoo practices of tā moko and tātau. Ira Tangata Ira Atua springs from research into the artist’s whakapapa. By acknowledging and celebrating her whakapapa, Houkāmau unwraps narratives that will be retold through uku, projection and soundscape.
Ira Tangata Ira Atua includes 4 large new uku works in the artist’s Whakapapa series – Houkāmau has also hand built and carved over 200 seed forms which represent ipu (vessels) and act as extensions of us as a people. Each seed is a unique shape and individually carved with Māori and Pasifika inspired patterns which reference the artist’s whakapapa. In her practice, Houkāmau explores vessel forms as both literal and metaphorical containers, with markings forming a visual language encoded with knowledge and genealogy. Ira Tangata Ira Atua also includes a series of carved sculptural vessels and a collaborative installation with moving image artist Jamie Berry that draws out connections between whakapapa and whenua.
In her uku works, Houkāmau acknowledges the revival and reinterpretation of the ways of Māori tīpuna in Aotearoa. Like the whakataukī “Kia whakatōmuri te haere whakamua” – “I walk backwards into the future with my eyes fixed on the past” Houkāmau emphasises the importance and relevance of whakapapa in our lives.
Images: (top right) Stevei Houkāmau ‘Taonga o oku tīpuna’ (Taonga of my ancestors) Black clay, paint, tanekaha dyed muka L655 x D110mm. (Above) Shainey Moreli ‘Pukeatua’ (kete whakairo), Neke Moa ‘Whareakēakē’ – atua (pounamu, brass, paint, shell), Xoë Hall. (Right) Stevei Houkāmau ‘Ngutuau te hapu’ (uku). Images courtesy of the artists and Masterworks Gallery.
Te Matapihi 11 June – 16 July 2022, Masterworks Gallery
Curated by Stevei Houkāmau, Te Matapihi offers a glimpse into the world of a group of artists who are based or have spent considerable time in Te Whanganui-a-Tara. Developing connections to the whenua and moana, Poneke has been a home away from home and they feel forever changed by the Mauri of Te Whanganui-a-Tara. Stevei has brought together a group of artists across a diverse range of materials, including – Jamie Berry, Neke Moa, Isaac Te Awa, Victor Te Paa, Shainey Moreli, Miriama Grace-Smith, Gina Kiel, Xoe Hall, Suzanne Tamaki, Terence Turner, Keri-mei Zagrobelna, and Stevei Houkāmau.