• Brett Graham

Brett Graham (Ngāti Koroki Kahukura, Tainui) is known for his large-scale sculptures exploring indigenous histories, politics, and philosophies. His recent show at New Plymouth's Govett-Brewster Art Gallery show has been described as ‘a cautionary tale about human endeavour in Aotearoa New Zealand’. Tai Moana Tai Tangata addressed the architecture of colonial warfare, the language of war memorials, and historic political pacts between Tainui and Taranaki iwi. It is one of the most ambitious and impressive solo shows of recent times. City Gallery is presenting a second iteration of this project. Two of the key sculptures—Maungārongo ki te Whenua Maungārongo ki te Tangata and O’Pioneer—offer contrasting takes on engagement with an other.

The show, which will feature further sculpture and videos by Graham, will be accompanied by a programme of New Zealand films addressing the Land Wars and their aftermath, organised in partnership with Ngā Taonga, Wellington.

The title Tai Moana Tai Tangata is taken from a remark Ngāti Toa rangitira Te Rauparaha made to Te Wherowhero, who would become the first Māori King: ‘Ka pari te tai moana, ka timu te tai tangata’ (When the ocean tide rises, the human tide recedes). It was chosen for its relevance to the current global warming crisis causing rising sea levels—making the past relevant to the future.

Opening Hours

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  • Civic Square, 101 Wakefield Street
  • Pōneke Wellington, 6140