27 May 2010
Gisborne-based Māori artists Henare and Tawera Tahuri will travel to the United States in July to be the 2010 Toi Sqwigwialtxw artists-in-residence at the Evergreen State University in Olympia, Washington.
Henare and Tawera are the first Aotearoa artists with a background in performing arts – such as dance, waiata and kapa haka – to take up the Toi Sqwigwialtxw residency.
The biennial residency is funded by Te Waka Toi, the Māori Arts Board of Creative New Zealand, and the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center, based at the university.
During the month-long residency the husband and wife team, who are also practising visual artists, will be working alongside native American artists. They will be exploring the similarities and differences between Māori and native American culture particularly in relation to haka, chants and waiata.
“We’re very proud of our culture so we’re looking forward to sharing it with other first-nations people and creating a collaborative work,” says Tawera.“We’re also really looking forward to extending our networks with other indigenous peoples so we can potentially work together in the future.
”Henare and Tawera both graduated from the Tairawhiti Polytechnic’s Toihoukura School of Māori Visual Art and Design and have both since returned as tutors after achieving Masters in Māori Visual Arts from Massey University.
TheirUnited States collaboration will be documented by the university’s Centre for Creative and Applied Media, which includes a high-definition television studio, so it can be made available to other students, performers and cultural institutions.
Longhouse Education and Cultural Center Director Tina Kuckkhan said, “the fact that Henare and Tawera will bring both visual and performing arts will allow them to engage with a broad range of indigenous artists living in the area”.
“We can envision them interacting with the numerous drum and dance groups in our area and especially during the summer when many people will be participating in the annual Tribal Canoe Journey.”
Previous recipients of the Toi Sqwigwialtxw residency have been:
- 2004, Tina Wirihana, master weaver
- 2006, Dr Takirirangi Smith, master carver
- 2008, June Northcroft-Grant, visual artist
For more information about the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center at Evergreen State University visit http://www.evergreen.edu/longhouse/.
Notes to Editors: Sqwigwialtxw means ‘house of welcome’ in the language of South Puget Sound Salish.