In November 2022, artists Reuben Paterson (Ngāti Rangitithi, Ngāi Tūhoe, Tūhourangi | New Zealand) and Tungane Broadbent (Rarotonga, Cook Islands) combined for the second time to present the exhibition Nga Meka Tui Kura at the Aotearoa Art Fair, Auckland, New Zealand. Their first pairing had occurred 5 years earlier with the exhibition Today, Tomorrow & Yesterday, Bergman Gallery, Rarotonga.
At the conclusion of the art fair presentation, I returned 3 of Reuben’s paintings, The Child, Surrender & Heart to Rarotonga. Since then I somehow felt that this story was incomplete, that there was another exhibition to come.
Two weeks ago, on a visit to Tungane Broadbent’s home, she casually remarked that there has a new Tivaivai Manu ready. It was a dopamine hit, where the corners of your mouth turn into a smile and a crystal clear picture forms in your mind.
There was the show. Tungane’s latest Tivaivai Manu Hibiscus, The Child, Surrender & Heart and a rare treasure, a Tivavai produced by Broadbent in the 1990’s Ei Tiare Maori, featuring an astounding pattern of the famous white flower garland.
Simple, minimalist, 5 powerful works that speak to both prior incarnations of their partnership.
My thanks to the artists who continue to make incredible artworks, and to conversations past that continue to inspire.
You can read the original transcript of Nga Meka Tui Kura here.
Text by Ben Bergman