We’re building a spectacular new art gallery and making changes online.
The Arts Te Papa website will be shutting down soon, but head to Collections Online to find your favourite works from New Zealand’s national art collection.
Level 5, Te PapaPrevious Exhibition
The old net is laid aside, the new net goes fishing
The whakataukī (Māori proverb) in this space relates to a ‘new Māori art’ that developed after World War II (1939–45). It was first used as a metaphor for modern Māori art in the catalogue for the 1969 exhibition The Work of Maori Artists. That exhibition was curated by artist Selwyn Muru and held at the National Art Gallery in Wellington.
Modern Māori Art
From the late 1940s to the early 1970s, a ‘new Māori art’ developed. Pioneering Māori painters and sculptors distanced themselves from customary art forms such as whakairo (carving), and explored the styles and techniques of international modern art.
This exhibition showcases their art – new idioms created from a mix of the artists’ own cultural philosophies and ideas and European modernism. It also emphasises the dual role many played as educators. A number of the ‘Māori modernists’ were employed by the Department of Education as specialist arts and crafts advisers under Gordon Tovey (1901–74), an artist and visionary educator.