The Open Artist Studio Project

Te Awamutu Museum has developed a unique opportunity for artists to work with their collection. The Open Artist Studio project offers an artist the opportunity to set up a working studio in one of the Museum galleries and be on site to share their expertise, creative process and market work based on the Museum collection to visitors.

The Open Artist Studio project has three main objectives – collaborate with the Museum to develop a theme in response to objects in the collection; exhibit existing, evolving and new work based on that theme; and present a range of interactive programmes.

“We have an amazing collection full of distinctive taonga Māori and European curios imbued with the social development of the district. Our aim is to inspire creative work and programmes that engage visitors in the districts rich history and culture”, says Henriata Nicholas, Exhibitions Coordinator at the Te Awamutu Museum.

The first Open Artist Studio was opened 21st June in celebration of Matariki 2018. Oriwa Morgan-Ward, a Ngāti Maniapoto artist is the first to take up the challenge. Oriwa has worked for the past three years with the Te Awamutu Museum and the Waipa District Council delivering creative waste minimisation and Māori art programmes for all ages. Her exhibition on show, Pā Harakeke is described as intergenerational learning utilizing traditional knowledge of raranga, whatu korowai, kete and tukutuku, to reflect whānau as ‘te ara wairua’ the spiritual pathway of connection to Papatūānuku.

Pā Harakeke is a multi-layered theme developed in response to taonga Māori in the Museum collection, some of which are on show in various galleries in the Museum. This helps visitors understand the connection between traditional cultural techniques and contemporary manufactured works on show.

“Uenuku is a big part of me connecting back home and following my passion in the arts. I see the Open Artist Studio Project as a way to inspire my work and encourage whānau, hāpū and iwi to engage with not only my mahi but also our taonga in the Museum and the staff who awhi and tautoko them”, says Oriwa.

Visitors have responded positively to Open Artist Studio project and highlight having the artist in the gallery sharing their creative process and connecting the theme with collection objects on show as a great idea encouraging repeat visitation.

 “We are really excited to be working with Oriwa who is such a positive and creative activator for Māori arts in the Waikato. Her chosen theme relates to several taonga Māori in the collection that are on show in galleries through out the Museum, along with a special installation in the courtyard to highlight Matariki – Māori New Year. Oriwa has developed a highly successful series of Matariki programmes delivered for July school holidays and has also worked in with our LEOTC education officer to present waste minimisation workshops ” says Ms Nicholas.

Come in and experience Pā Harakeke running from 21st June – 22nd September 2018. Check out our website for Museum opening times.