Kotahi Kapua i te Rangi, He Marangai ki te Whenua

An exhibition by Karangawai Marsh of abstract kōwhaiwhai aho paintings informed by Māori language that reflects a concept describing language immersion and the intimate relationships shared between mātua (parent) and tama riki (children).

Karangawai Marsh is a senior tutor of Te Toioho ki Āpiti (Māori Visual Arts), Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa, Massey University, a Māori language tutor and well known artist. Founder of Toi Inc and kaiwhakahaere of RaRau Mai (Māori language, whānau arts initiative), Tuku te Toi (annual marae arts project) as well as Ora te Toi (annual art exhibition project).

For the past 20 years, Karangawai has been an active member of Te Ataarangi and 3rd generation kaiak of the Te Ataarangi method. She holds a Masters of Te Toioho ki Āpiti (Māori Visual Arts) and is currently preparing her confirmation report for PhD with Toi Inc being the research focus. The proposed exhibition will be the first of four exhibition supporting Karangawai’s PhD research.

Exhibition Concept

“Kotahi kapua i te rangi, he marangai ki te whenua – One cloud from the heavens brings rain to the lands”

This is a whakataukī employed by Te Ataarangi describing and motivating their efforts as a community-based Māori language revitalisation initiative. Although the arduous efforts over the past 40 years have been carried out by a small few (kotahi kapua) the efforts have been beneficial to the survival of the language (he marangai ki te whenua). ‘He marangai ki te whenua’ will be the first of a series of four exhibitions over a four-year period committed to promoting language use and the inter-generational transmission of te reo Māori through art. All four exhibitions will be informed by art activities delivered by RaRau Mai, a community focused, Māori immersion arts initiative delivered in Palmerston North and Te Awamutu, online for whānau within the Rangitāne ki Manawatū and Ngāti Raukawa ki te tonga region.

Proposed Works

In preparation for the exhibition in October, Karangawai will be creating a series of abstract kōwhaiwhai aho paintings informed by Māori language kōwhaiwhai tutorials create for RaRau Mai. The paintings will demonstrate systems of symmetry and asymmetry through a single line and aho descending from the paintings to the gallery floor. The medium and process will reflect toutou tai, a concept describing language immersion and the intimate relationships shared between mātua and tamariki, kaumātua and mokopuna.

The colours employed will commemorate and celebrate the efforts of Te Artaarangi and as a leading example of language revitalisation initiatives. The labels and descriptions will be written in te reo Māori in the attempt to normalise te reo Māori and representing Māori communities in a predominantly non-Māori domain.

He Marangai ki te Whenua opens 28th October 2021 and runs til 20th March 2022!