The portrait room, Nga tai whakarongorua | Encounters, lies at the heart of the exhibition Tūrangawaewae: Art and New Zealand in Toi Art. It was curated by Curator Mātauranga Māori, Matariki Williams and Curator Historical New Zealand Art, Rebecca Rice. The portraits on the walls represent multiple encounters of various kinds from pre-Cook through to the early twentieth century: encounters between different people, encounters between artists and their subjects, and now, encounters between the portraits and visitors to the galleries.
Matariki Williams, Curator Matarunga Maori
The title of the gallery “Nga tai whakarongorua,” suggests a state of being in two minds about things – that there might be more than one way to look at or think about the paintings. Indeed, while they were all painted or made for different reasons, these portraits all have stories wrapped around them.
Join Matariki and Rebecca as they unwrap some of their favourite stories behind the paintings and share some of the big questions and ideas underpinning the exhibition.
Rebecca Rice, Curator Historical New Zealand Art
Matariki Williams has a broad interest in the intersections within te ao Māori and how this contributes to a diverse contemporary Māori society. Her research interests include contemporary social history, art, and digital expressions of self and culture. Matariki is a Kāhui Kaitiaki representative on the Museums Aotearoa Board and also serves on the board of the National Digital Forum.
Iwi affiliation: Tūhoe, Te Atiawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Hauiti
Dr Rebecca Rice is an art historian who specialises in New Zealand’s colonial art. She is interested in New Zealand’s representation at international exhibitions, particularly through the displays of fine art, photography and ethnographic artefacts, as well as how artists used these exhibitions to promote their own practice. Current research includes the art produced during the New Zealand Wars of the nineteenth century, and the impact of impressionism on New Zealand artists at home and abroad.