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Last modified: 20 Jul 2022 11:42am

Pahū exhibition opening

Miranda Parkes’ scrunched canvas work "Open Relationship" in the foreground with Clara Wells' animated moving-image work "The Search & The Return" behind.

A new six-month long exhibition, just opened at Te Ara Ātea, has completely changed the ‘vibe’ in the building.

Pahū! is inspired by the observations of visitors who have visited Te Ara Ātea in Rolleston for the first time. It opened on Thursday and holds some surprises, according to Co-Leader of Te Ara Ātea, Mat Logan.

Pahū means burst or pop, so visitors to Te Ara Ātea will encounter unexpected artworks in unexpected places; in glass cabinets but also exploding from the walls and ceiling.

Mat says it’s an exciting opportunity to show just how well Te Ara Ātea can blend art exhibitions, a public library, community spaces and heritage experiences in one place.

“Some people might not normally visit a public art gallery but do visit Te Ara Ātea, so they will get the chance to see significant contemporary New Zealand art of the highest standard,” he says. “We think visitors will really enjoy the exciting and surprising artworks on display.”

Pahū! features works by Janna van Hasselt, Judy Darragh, Miranda Parkes, Turumeke Harrington and Clara Wells, each responding to the multi-use nature of the showcase building with an air of mischief.

Pahū! curator Chloe Cull, Arts Programme Coordinator at Te Ara Ātea, says that the artists have approached this exhibition with a sense of celebration, hoping to surprise visitors with bold colours, shapes, and materials.

Clara Wells and Turumeke Harrington have even used Te Ara Ātea to inspire some new works. Wells’ work spans 20 metres of curved wall from the main entrance and transmits messages across an ethereal background.

Harrington’s work Hei Aho acts as a place marker. It is underpinned by cultural stories and taonga species like flounder (pātiki) and the cabbage tree (tī kōuka). Tī kōuka was used by her Ngāi Tahu ancestors as signposts on the Canterbury plains. Her work is a glowing beacon in the first-floor window of the building.

Mat says the plan is for exhibitions at Te Ara Ātea to rotate about every six months.