Artists return to their roots

Artists in the Southern Mother exhibition, pictured here in 2022, (from left) Kyla Cresswell,...
Artists in the Southern Mother exhibition, pictured here in 2022, (from left) Kyla Cresswell, Emma Kitson and Kim Lowe. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Three southern wāhine are exploring their connections to Southland and celebrating Murihiku through their Southern Mother exhibition at He Waka Tuia art gallery.

The trio were drawn together under the umbrella of printmaking and were taught by their late kaiako Marilynn Webb, who encouraged them to explore the depths of rich ancestry and identities, to value a connection to place, and to believe in their strengths and voice.

Kyla Cresswell and Kim Lowe grew up in Invercargill and are descendants of Southland settlers and Emma Kitson whakapapas to Anne Wharetutu Newton, of Whenua Hou.

Kitson crafts linocuts and woodcuts to explore mahinga kai and ancestral connection.

Lowe drew on her tīpuna and cultural ancestry and extrapolated this through large ink drawings, woodcuts and paintings.

Cresswell uses intaglio works to depict significant places to her in the region, the micro and macro of the natural environment and the human impact on it.

"The exhibitions have enabled us to engage with the community, teaching and talking about printmaking and art-making in general," Cresswell said.

The Southern Mother show was first shown at Pātaka in 2021, then Te Atamira, followed by Eastern Southland Gallery and appropriately now to Waihōpai Invercargill, given their links to the place.

The tour will conclude in June at the Dunedin School of Art Gallery.

The exhibition showcases their different styles, interests and cultural backgrounds (Māori, Chinese, Pākehā) and their mutual love for Southland.

 - By Nina Tapu