Dunedin artist’s Maori heritage brought out in exhibition

‘‘Wahine’’, the latest exhibition by French artist Loren Pasquier (pictured), is now open at...
‘‘Wahine’’, the latest exhibition by French artist Loren Pasquier (pictured), is now open at Toitu Otago Settlers’ Museum, and includes the story of Dunedin artist Phyllis Smith. PHOTO:CHRISTINE O’CONNOR
Despite being brought up in a Western culture, Dunedin artist Phyllis Smith has always been aware of her Maori ancestry and her whanau’s land at Te Awa Koiea.

Now, a new exhibition at Toitu Otago Settlers’ Museum is telling the story of how she helped find her extended family members from Te Awa Koiea (Brinns Point, near Seacliff), who have been scattered over the decades, and brought them back together.

The story shares her journey of reconnection, not only to the whenua, but to her whakapapa and her ‘‘Maoriness’’.

It is the latest to be added to a growing list of stories being added to an exhibition called ‘‘Wahine’’, which opens to the public at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum today.

The touring multi-media exhibition amplifies Maori women’s voices around New Zealand, offering communities the opportunity to be enriched by their life stories while fostering mutual understanding.

Each time it moves to a new city, a local woman joins the list.

The exhibition is the creation of French artist Loren Pasquier.

Her work is inspired by her rich, nomadic experiences across 30 countries, and her passion for creating art that connects with people.

Through personalised sound stories and portrait photography, ‘‘Wahine’’ is an immersive exhibition inviting communities to come together, be inspired, and learn from the raw, honest, and vulnerable stories of Maori women.

The stories touch on their joys and inspirations, their troubles and tribulations, and the resilience that has moulded them into the women they are.

The exhibition will be hosted by Toitu Otago Settlers Museum until October 31, when it will head to Invercargill.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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