Areta Wilkinson Ngāi Tahu / Aotearoa New Zealandb.1969 / The artist working on Whakapapa I (from ‘Moa-hunter Fashions’ series) 2018 / Waimakaririand Rakahuri river stones, tree stumps, kōkōwai (red ochre), silver / Installed dimensions variable / c The artist /Image courtesy: The artist and Two Rooms Gallery, Auckland

Areta Wilkinson
‘Moa-hunter Fashions’ 2018

On Display: GOMA, Gallery 3.5

For APT9, Wilkinson presents ‘Moa-hunter Fashions’ 2018, a contemporary mahinga kai (a site of cultural production), complete with tools, creations and midden (a mound of shells). The artist visited the Gallery to work in the space at the start of the exhibition. She worked using a jeweller’s kit comprising 3-D-printed replicas of original tools held in museum collections. These tools — like the river stones the artist uses as anvils, and the objects she creates — carry meaning and memory. Wilkinson’s work is informed by observing the time-honoured practice of making in relationship to the land.

Areta Wilkinson’s art practice involves personal adornment and object-making as it relates to mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge systems). She explores genealogies, knowledge and histories
of contact between peoples, and draws connections between the cultural production of her ancestors and her own art-making. Wilkinson is a descendant of a moa hunter — moa were flightless birds once native to New Zealand, which are now extinct. Inspired by her research into the customary tools of her ancestors, her own creations are fashioned using similar tools and include references to the bones of the moa.

Contemporary context

How does Areta Wilkinson:

  • challenge ideas of the past?

Personal context

How does Areta Wilkinson:

  • communicate influences on her life and experiences?

Cultural context

How does Areta Wilkinson:

  • explore cultural traditions?
  • reflect community interests through social commentary?
  • respond to cultural influences?

Formal context

How does Areta Wilkinson:

  • employ specific art elements and principles to communicate meaning?
  • enhance the interpretation of the artwork through processes, materials and media?