Zena Elliott & Aroha Gossage
ARTIS Gallery would like to welcome Zena Elliott & Aroha Gossage who will be exhibiting with us for the first time in the joint show waenga.
Based in Hamilton, Zena Elliott gained her Master of Visual Arts with Distinction from the Waikato Institute of Technology in 2006. In 2009 she was commissioned by Wintec to create an artwork for the institute’s city campus. She is currently employed as an Independent Creative Researcher and Maori Visual Arts Lecturer.
Aroha Gossage graduated with a Masters of Art & Design (Honours) in 2015, Auckland University of Technology. Iwi (tribe) of Ngati Wai, Ngati Ati Awa and the hapu (sub-tribe) Ngati Ruahine/Ruanui, Ngati Manuhiri.
Zena Elliott (Ngāti Awa)
“The purpose of this body of artwork is to investigate new understandings on how the concept of ‘Whakapapa’ is linked to Māori Art in today’s Contemporary art context, establishing a strong connection and continuing practice of innovation that is informed by social, cultural and political environments”.
“My current art practice seeks to explore the concept of ‘Whakapapa’ as a model to inform Māori Arts practice within a diverse creative arts context. Investigating what it means to be Māori in a contemporary society today, claiming space in both urban and ancestral whenua (land). ‘Whaka’ means to cause something to happen, ‘Papa’ represents foundations, therefore ‘Whakapapa’ literally means to create and build upon existing foundations through stories or genealogies relating to the world, people and life.
These new artworks are an extention of a previous body of work and explore my personal connections to Māori and Pākeha identity through the concepts of tradition and contemporary media and processes. My artworks incorporate contrasting cultural references from customary Māori forms and patterns, to contemporary custom car painting, street art and abstraction.”
Aroha Gossage (Ngāti Manuhiri)
“My paintings are of specific places on Hauturu – Little Barrier Island which is the ancestral home of our tupuna of our hapu – Ngati Manuhiri. The paintings draw upon my spiritual connection and historical reconnection. They were created after a ten day stay and study on the island this year”.
Aroha Gossage’s paintings relate to concepts of tangata whenua (people of the land), whakapapa (genealogy) and turangawaewae (a place to stand) and are informed by cultural, historical and spiritual connections to whenua (land).
Her work focuses on articulating a desire to imbue the work with a sense of wairua (spiritual essence) and mauri (living life principle). Her paintings explore the potential possibility for the viewer to experience the sensibilities of the specific place she is depicting. They convey a sense or feeling of the subtleties of Māori history and ancestry, an awareness of an environment that is in continuous change and empathy for an indigenous emotional and spiritual connection to landscape.