17 Apr 2024

This content is tagged as Visual arts .


Wasteland 2023, Brett Graham. Photography by Ben Stewart.

New Zealand artists are in Venice for the 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, the prestigious international art exhibition opening in Italy today. 

Running till November, the Biennale Arte 2024 features the work of five New Zealand ngā toi Māori artists in the International Exhibition curated by Adriano Pedrosa and titled Stranieri Ovunque - Foreigners Everywhere.

Spanning generations of contemporary Māori artists, seminal figures Selwyn Wilson (Ngāti Manu, Ngāti Hine) and Sandy Adsett (Ngāti Pahauwera) have works in the Giardini’s Central pavilion, while father and son Fred Graham (Ngāti Koroki Kahukura, Tainui) and Brett Graham (Ngāti Koroki Kahukura, Tainui) are both showing work at the Arsenale’s Corderie venue, alongside Mataaho Collective (Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai, Ngāti Toa Rangātira, Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Pūkeko, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi, Rangitāne ki Wairarapa) whose large-scale installation Takapau is the first work that visitors will see in that space. 

Charlotte Davy, Te Papa Head of Art, acknowledges the significance of this moment for Mataaho Collective. 

“The Collective’s largest-ever work was commissioned for their first exhibition at Te Papa in 2022 curated by Dr Nina Tonga, and I’m thrilled that it will be showcased internationally, strengthening the legacy of New Zealand’s offering at Venice.”

A total of eight New Zealand works will be shown in the International Exhibition, including Wasteland, a new work by Brett Graham; sculptures and a painting by Fred Graham; a kōwhaiwhai painting from Sandy Adsett; a portrait from Selwyn and Mataaho Collective’s largest immersive installation.

Creative New Zealand’s Amanda Hereaka, Co-Manager (Māori), Practice and Pathways, says curator Adriano Pedrosa’s selection of artists across different ages means visitors to La Biennale will see a slice of New Zealand’s art history.

“It’s extraordinary to have such a range of artists at the international exhibition this year. The variety of work, the mediums and perspectives being shared, means the art of Aotearoa is being shown through the lens of multiple generations – and this is such an incredible way for the world to see the whakaaro and many stages of ngā toi Māori,” says Hereaka.

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki is proud to have lent three works from its collection by Sandy Adsett, Fred Graham, and Selwyn Wilson for the exhibition. 

Senior Curator Māori Art Nathan Pōhio says it’s uplifting to see the work of these important artists exhibiting at the Biennale Arte 2024.

“It’s significant that Māori artists are included within the context of Stranieri Ovunque - Foreigners Everywhere. Artists of Te Ao Māori (the Māori world), placed within the context of their global peers is becoming a less rare occasion. This is great considering what Māori art has to offer the world,” says Pōhio. 

In addition to the participating international exhibition artists, New Zealand’s Areez Katki, Caitlin Devoy, Elisapeta Hinemoa Heta (Ngātiwai, Ngāpuhi, Waikato Tainui, Sāmoan, Tokelauan), Mizuho Nishioka, and Robert Jahnke (Ngāi Taharoa, Te Whānau a Iritekura, Te Whānau a Rakairoa o Ngāti Porou) are also showing work in Venice as part of presentations that run parallel to La Biennale Arte. 

For media interviews:

Artworks at Stranieri Ovunque - Foreigners Everywhere: 

Brett Graham

  • Wasteland 2023
    Steel, found wagon wheels, macrocarpa wood, paint

Fred Graham

  • Tamariki a Tangaroa 1970
    mahogany wood 
  • Maui Steals the Sun 1971
    mahogany wood 
  • Tinirau and the Whale 1971
    mahogany wood 
  • Whiti Te Rā 1966
    oil stick on board

Selwyn Wilson

  • Study of a head 1948
    Oil on board

Sandy Adsett 

  • Waipuna 1978
    Acrylic oil on board

Mataaho Collective

  • Takapau 2022
    Polyester hi-viz tie-downs (6km), stainless steel buckles, 480 rachets and 960 j-hooks