Mātātuhi? Mauri Ora! Is an exhibition of work by Emma Riha Kitson (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha) and Melanie Tahata (Ngāti Uepohatu, Ngāti Porou, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, Ngai Tāmanuhiri).
There is a joy in working with ink. Marilynn Webb spoke this about when talking about why she chose to become a printmaker. In conversation with Barry Cleavin, she said “It was the mystery of the ink, because once you start printmaking, you transport the image into another dimension via the ink.”
During the development of Mātātuhi? Mauri Ora! Kitson referred to the printmaking process as “magic!” This magicalness is not only evident in the artworks exhibited but also in the conversations between the artists and curator Piupiu Maya Turei during the creation of the exhibition. There was consistently laughing and joking during the zui held and a sense of binding unity.
When ink is bound to the paper, there is a transportation, a moment of A-ha! It is the enjoyment of process, of practising the art, of muscle memory kicking in which can provide a feeling of liberation - it is the making that emancipates us from our ordinary dimension, into another place, wholly magic.
This magic can be of the transformative, radical kind. Tahata pointed out that printing making has a strong relationship to revolutionary movements and the punk scene. Both often leaning in to Do It Yourself methodologies to circumvent capitalist hierarchies.
The joy of freedom is present when working with ink!
Emma Kitson is an Artist, Designer and Curator who resides in Whanganui a Tara (Wellington). Her whakapapa traces its roots to the small islands off Rakiura (Stewart Island) at the southern end of Aotearoa. After graduating from Dunedin School of Fine Art in 1996 she regularly exhibited at the Blue Oyster Gallery including being the curator for their inaugural exhibition, Collection: Taonga /Trash? Emma is a part of Paemanu, Ngai Tahu Contemporary Artists and has been a contributing artist in their exhibitions at COCA and Dunedin Public Art Gallery.
Becoming a mother in 2012 was a catalyst for Emma to return to making art from a desire to create a Māori centred space for her tamahine. While her earlier artwork was mixed media (video/textile/sculpture), and her design work was mostly digital, printmaking became her practice of choice because it combined her love of art and nature with technical problem solving and experimentation. The accessibility of print also made it a practical choice for creating art at home.
B. 1973, Tūranganui-a-Kiwa.
Nō Ngāti Uepohatu, Ngāti Porou, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, Ngai Tāmanuhiri.
Born and raised in Puhi Kaiti, Tūranganui-ā-Kiwa (Kaiti, Gisborne), Melanie’s art practice has a firm basis in Aroha. The Māori concepts, values and actions of love and compassion for all things are present in her multi disciplinary mahi toi.
Proudly urban Māori, Mel’s practice embodies a reclamation of te reo me ōna tikanga and Matauranga Māori. Returning home and STILL in Kaiti, Mel treasures her whānau life with a 17yo son and 2 cats (14yo and 10yo).