In the name of art

Thursday July 18, 2019 Written by Published in Culture
Mahiriki Tangaroa with her triptych ‘Earth, Wind & Fire … Irrespective of Place’ exhibition piece. 19071716 Mahiriki Tangaroa with her triptych ‘Earth, Wind & Fire … Irrespective of Place’ exhibition piece. 19071716

When the sensitive subject of proposing to change the country’s name re-emerged in March, local artist Mahiriki Tangaroa kept thinking about it. It kept nagging away.

Then she thought, why not paint about it? And she did.

Tangaroa’s exhibition of ‘Earth, Wind & Fire … Irrespective of Place’ is a timely coincidence considering “the concept for the show developed when national discussions re-emerged about a proposed name change away from the Cook Islands or its local vernacular Kuki Airani,” she says.

“As an advocate for cultural identity, this is a topic that I feel strongly about and, the question formed in my mind, ‘is this a national priority? Where do you start, there are other important things to focus on?”

The sets of the striking art pieces represent life’s key elements.

“It is about stepping back, attempting to maintain an objective view of our breakable island environment, about identifying fundamental necessities and marrying them with our values and priorities as Cook Islanders.

“It questions whether or not we have our priorities in perspective,” she adds.

“It is necessary that we identify and effectively respond to change, for our survival.”

The nations have made progress in several areas including solar power generation, marine conservation, and plastic bags, for the exhibition she wanted to make a statement.

“When social changes are occurring at an increasing rate, within a confined, isolated, and vulnerable environment, do we have the foresight to recognize national priorities that will protect and conserve our country not just for ourselves, but, as best we can, for the many generations to come,” asks Tangaroa.

Gallery owner Ben Bergman said: “It’s really nice to handle a Cook Islands contemporary arts show that is responding to a national conversation.”

Members of the public are invited to the exhibition opening on Monday at 6pm at Bergman Gallery.

Tina Browne, Leader of the Opposition and Tangaroa’s sister, will speak at the opening, as will Brett Porter, the director of TOA Petroleum

The paintings will be on display from July 22 to August 17.

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