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colour to the light


Tuturu (to be true) was a co-creation exhibition developed by MTG and Iwi Toi Kahungunu, an artist collective of Ngati Kahungunu descent, led by Sandy Adsett.

TCA 2017 gallery photo

The exhibition was developed to coincide with the biennial Kapa Haka Festival hosted by Ngati Kahungunu to showcase the breadth of talent across visual and performing arts.

The exhibition was installed in a long narrow space, The Linkway Gallery, which required creative cultural ingenuity to achieve the aspiration of the curator, Sandy Adsett, to create the feeling of being inside a traditional Maori meeting house – wharenui.

Tuturu panels

Bright and vibrant tukutuku panels from Mohaka were placed along each wall alternating with art that represents each artist's view on their own Maori identity.

The challenge of the gallery space was not conducive to tikanga Maori, having an entrance/exit at each end of the gallery. It was agreed one end of the gallery would be referred to as Te Po (The Darkness) and one end of the gallery as Te Ao Marama (The Light). The use of colour was to create movement in the gallery where one is immersed in a journey from the darkness to the light.

Tuturu panels

To meet the brief, the design team created an intimate, pensive space to encourage visitors to slow down, in what is essentially a thoroughfare. The alternating panels of Resene colours with artworks, and tukutuku panels, creates a warm, uniquely Maori environment. The Resene colours were chosen to complement those in the artworks and create a sense of coming into Te Ao Marama (The Light) as you move through the space.

Creating the concept of a wharenui interior with the use of colour to move from the dark to the light was relatively easy to achieve, however the difficulty was in matching this brief to the colours of the artworks. Some last minute changes needed to be made to the colour selections once the final artworks arrived; this was not an issue as all Resene colours were readily available.

Tuturu panels

Having the curator on hand to guide colour selections alongside the designers was beneficial to ensuring the colours were teamed with the appropriate artworks and the progression through the gallery achieved the desired result. The back walls were finished in Resene Black (lamp black), with feature colours of Resene Black Marlin (deep charcoal blue), Resene Racing Green (black green), Resene Deep Teal (clean blue green), Resene Sonic Boom (vibrant blue), Resene Blackberry (red violet) and Resene Vanquish (reserved red).

Resene Zylone Sheen was used for the exhibition spaces, due to the flexibility offered by the extensive colour range, the unobtrusive low sheen finish and the low and no added VOCs in enclosed spaces and around sensitive artworks.

Tuturu panels

The final result is a truly indigenous exhibition underpinned by traditional Maori concepts, achieved through colour. Verbatim comments from Maori visitors is that they recognise the environment as the interior of a wharenui, feel the warmth of the colour and art on display and would quite happily line the gallery with mattresses as they would in in their own wharenui.

This project won the Resene Total Colour Master Nightingale Award and the Resene Total Colour Installation – Experiential – Product (interior) Award.

Tuturu panels
Tuturu panels

The judges were repeatedly drawn back to the colours of this project. “With a wide range of colours so beautifully chosen to work with each other, this exhibition warmly welcomes you in. The colour frames each artwork and draws you in for a closer look to appreciate each piece’s individuality. It’s a very sophisticated departure from normal gallery treatments. The lighting brings out the moodiness in the colour, the way it washes down the piece. The colour brings out the best in each artwork, making each the star of the show.”

Building and painting contractor: MTG Exhibitions & Facilities team
Colour selection: Matt Mitchell; Sandy Adsett; Iwi Toi Kahungunu
Lead curator: Sandy Adsett
Curator: Tryphena Cracknell
Curator and contributing artist: Dena Bach
Contributing artists: Iwi Toi Kahungunu Artist Collective
Strategic Maori advisor: Charles Ropitini
Photographer: David Frost
Winner: Resene Total Colour Master Nightingale Award and Resene Total Colour Installation – Experiential – Product (interior) Award
Project: Resene Total Colour Awards 2017
From the Resene News – issue 4/2017

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