ALISON Waller works on a painted piece for the level 4 course. Photos supplied

ARTS students of Te Wananga o Aotearoa will be putting a year’s worth of hard work on display next month.

Students from two level 4 classes in visual arts and weaving will be showcasing what they have learned over the year.

The exhibition, set to open from 10am on November 8 with an introduction, will run from 10am to 4pm on the Saturday as well.

While Roka Cameron taught weaving in the Nga Mahi a te Whare Pora certificate, the visual arts class is spearheaded by Michelle Lee in the Maori and Indigenous Art certificate.

“It’s a whole series of really individualised work, from a range of students, both visual arts and weaving,” Ms Lee said.

“We’re looking at probably 30 artists with work in the exhibition.”

As a learning adviser in level 4 Maori and indigenous art, Ms Lee said those aspects were present in the students’ art, alongside their own personal flair.

“They’ve all done very individual stuff, based on some intense learning in the beginning and carrying that through to their own interests in the end,” Ms Lee said.

“I think it’s going to be really cool, they’re all quite different so I think there will definitely be something for everyone.”

She said although the focus of the exhibition was not on selling students’ works, it was up to the students if they wished to sell any pieces.

“We’re looking at this as a celebration of all the work they’ve done throughout the year.”

Ms Lee recommended viewers register an interest in any artworks that caught their attention, and the artist may be willing to sell.

Student Caroline Willis gave some insight into her experience in the course, saying it was a journey of experimentation and exploration.

“Have you ever tried to define Maori art and then found that the more you think about it the less sure you are of the definition?

“Students of the level 4 certificate in Maori and Indigenous Art have been grappling with this question as they explored and experimented with myriad processes and different media.

“As they delved into photography, digital manipulation, traditional drawing, acrylic painting, printmaking and sculpture they have had to check their position.

“Though their responses to this question are varied the differences among the students were the ingredients that nurtured the flow of creativity.”

Ms Willis said the friction between traditional and contemporary Maori art was another area to be navigated.

“Michelle Lee, the learning adviser, approached this issue by starting each project with any traditional Maori tikanga associated with it. She was strongly supported in this by students with local Maori history and te ao Maori knowledge.

“After reaching some understanding, the students were then free to incorporate more contemporary elements and interpretations as they wished.”

Ms Willis said weaving students’ focus was on the care, preparation and storage of natural resources.

“With a coastal location, the tauira were always connected to the environment as they wove; thus repurposed materials and judicious use of commercial dyes were employed

when adding visual interest for the modern audience.

“Whatever approach you take to Maori art or how you choose to define Maori art you will find yourself immersed in te ao Maori and on a journey of reflection and self-discovery; you and your community will be richer for it,” Ms Willis said.

She also encouraged the community to attend the upcoming exhibition and keep an eye out for a keepsake.

“And, if you would like to take home a little bit of Maori awesomeness you might like to purchase something from the sales table, take part in the raffle for a kete te ao hou, pikau and kete whakairo or commission a piece.”

james.sandbrook@opotikinews.co.nz