Putahi Cook Islands is the gathering of Polynesian artists with the purpose to give indigenous people the opportunity to work on themes related to heritage, traditional art practices and contemporary art.
The exhibition is part of an art exchange which also includes presentations and workshops hosted by artists from countries including Hawaii, New Caledonia, Tonga, the Cook Islands, New Zealand and Tahiti.
The project will showcase Cook Islands traditional practice; including weaving baskets, mats and adornments passed down through generations.
Putahi Cook Islands will also feature carving miniature vaka that represents voyaging and navigation by the stars, painting images of the vibrant, living culture, outlining the lifestyle and music, and building relationships between Pacific nations through art and preserving culture.
Following tonight’s opening, the Putahi exhibition will be open to the public for one week.
All attending artists will bring submissions for the opening exhibition which will also see the Cook Islands Putahi team welcome everyone with a local string band, wine and nibbles.
Formalities for the evening will start with an opening prayer, blessing and welcoming speech presented by Ministry of Cultural Development secretary Anthony Turua.
Meanwhile the Bergman Gallery will also host the closing Putahi exhibition on Friday, May 25.
All created works during the two-week gathering will be on show and all artwork will be for sale.
The closing exhibition will start off with a traditional welcome by a Cook Islands dance troop, speeches from sponsors, deputy prime minister Teariki Heather, Putahi project manager Shane Andrew, followed by a hand-over to Tongan leader Tavita Latu for Putahi 2019.
The annual Putahi artists’ gathering was held for the fifth consecutive year in Tahiti last year.
The event aims to give indigenous people the opportunity to work on themes related to heritage, traditional art practices and contemporary art.
Throughout the exchange, the artists will also visit schools on the island including Tereora College, Nukutere College and Apii Avarua, giving presentations to the school’s art students.