Manawa i te Kāniwha, a mural by Abigail Aroha Jensen and Georgina Watson
Manawa i te Kāniwha
Abigail Aroha Jensen
20 February - 20 August 2021
Artspace Aotearoa is proud to present Manawa i te Kāniwha as its first mural project since the gallery’s relocation to ground level on Karangahape Road. Responding to the T junction of Karangahape Road and East Street in Newton, the mural project reflects the dynamism and flamboyance of this historically layered place, whilst staying attuned to the intent of making new histories with those who have a socio-political responsibility to its future.
Manawa i te Kāniwha is a collaborative project by Georgina Watson and Abigail Aroha Jensen. Through the use of paint and kōkōwai, these artists visualise western spatial understandings and ‘givens’ over place; an indivisible whole, embedded and imbued with its own agency and responsibility to Te Ao Māori.
Focusing on the wrought iron gate, a symbol linked to imperial power, proprietorship, and the divide between common good and privatised stakeholders, the artists bring to light that the ornate and decorative may not be as innocent as it may first seem.
Abigail Aroha Jensen
(Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Te Manuhiri, Te Whanau-a-Ruataupare, Te Whanau-a-Tuwhakairiora, Belfast and Ballymena)
Born in Kirikiriroa and currently based between Kirikiriroa and Tāmaki Makaurau Abigail Aroha Jensen has recently completed her studies at Toihoukura in Turanganui-a-kiwa. Recent projects include the group show ‘Hauhake’ a collective response to Hone Tuwhare’s poem ‘Hotere’ and the drawing Ralph Hotere contributed to poetry books. Abigail’s work in this show is an invitation for kōrero - an exploration into wānanga while threading layers of our tuakiri to reflect on places of belonging in Aotearoa.
(Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Mutunga, Moriori, Portuguese, French and British)
Watson recently returned to Aotearoa after undertaking the Maumaus Art School Independent Research Project in Portuga. She is currently living in Tāmaki Makaurau. Recent projects include Eternal Girlhood of the Settler State (May Fair Art Fair in collaboration with Tyson Campbell, 2020).