Artist interview: Lisa Reihana

All images are used with permission and are copyrighted.

Lisa Reihana CNZM (Ngati Hine, Ngai Tūteauru, Ngāi Tūpoto, Ngā Puhi) was born in 1964 and grew up in Blockhouse Bay, Auckland, New Zealand.

Lisa is one of Aotearoa’s leading artists: a multi-disciplinary visionary whose practice spans a multitude of mediums including photography, film, costume, sculpture, body adornment, and text. Her work has significantly influenced the development of contemporary art and contemporary Māori art in Aotearoa New Zealand and continues to do so to this day.

Lisa’s practice amongst many things “explores the desire to re-examine colonial history and represent countless counter histories and memories. And draw out inspiration from life worlds of communities in the present. And often contain a strong story telling content.”

Her work and practice has gathered a host of awards and accolades, including being made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (she was already a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to art) in this year’s  Queen’s Birthday and Platinum Jubilee Honours list,  being an Arts Laureate, and a recipient of the Te Tohu Toi Ke Te Waka Toi Maori Arts Innovation Award from Creative New Zealand.

Lisa has a prodigious output and has exhibited in just about every major gallery in Aotearoa New Zealand, not to mention numerous worldwide. In 2017 she represented Aotearoa New Zealand at the 2017 Venice Biennale with the sublime In Pursuit of Venus [infected] (2015-17).

We were thrilled when we were asked to interview Lisa about her latest exhibition Nomads of the Sea, which is on at Porirua’s PATAKA Art + Museum until Sunday 3 July 2022, as well as many other aspects  of her remarkable career.

In Nomads of the Sea Lisa uses large-scale, immersive installations and weaves together numerous threads – from museums, archives, and historical accounts to Māori narratives and Māori belief systems. It features four significant works selected from her vast body of work from the last 15 years.

Find more information about Nomads of the Sea at PATAKA Art + Museum here.

This interview was done in conjunction with Caffeine and Aspirin, the arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM. You can hear the interview, as well as find a selection of books that feature Lisa Reihana and her work that is available to borrow, below.

We would like to mihi to Lisa for giving us her time and such a fabulous interview.

In pursuit of Venus / Reihana, Lisa
“To accompany the exhibition of the new multi-media work by artist Lisa Reihana in Pursuit of Venus (infected) at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki”-.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

 

Lisa Reihana: emissaries / Reihana, Lisa
“Catalogue to accompany the exhibition ‘Emissaries’ by artist Lisa Reihana, New Zealand’s official entry in the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

 

Digital marae / Reihana, Lisa
“This richly illustrated, modestly sized casebound book is devoted to Digital Marae; a major ongoing photographic and video project by one of New Zealand’s foremost artists Lisa Reihana. Edited by Govett-Brewster Director and curator Rhana Devenport, contributors are leading Maori architectural historian Deidre Brown; Melbourne-based curator and writer Victoria Lynn and cultural theorist and sociologist Nikos Papastergiadis; and Te Papa curator Megan Tamati-Quennell. Additionally, an extended interview with Reihana by Devenport reveals the complex layers of influence that inform this ambitious and significant work.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Taiāwhio II : contemporary Mäori artists : 18 new conversations
“Taiäwhio: Conversations with Contemporary Mäori artists, profiles a fresh range of contemporary Mäori artists. Each profile contains pages of information and quotes from the artists so readers can learn, in the artists’ own words, about their influences and inspirations, work methods and practice, while numerous full-colour photographs accompany each chapter, depicting the artists at work and showing the range of their work and the environment in which they create it. Short biographies are given for each artist profiled and a general introduction by Huhana Smith provides context for the interviews and background information about contemporary Mäori art. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Pasifika styles : artists inside the museum
“In May 2006 some fifteen artists from New Zealand took over the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge (UK) as part of Pasifika Styles, a groundbreaking experiment in the display of Pacific Art. Installing their works in cases next to taonga or treasures collected on the voyages of Cook and Vancouver, the artists flung open the stores of the museum to bring more of the museum’s unparalleled Oceanic collections to light.. This book describes Pasifika Styles, from the perspectives of artists, museum professionals and scholars involved in this pioneering project.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Artists on art : how they see, think and create / Black, Holly
“Through a carefully curated selection of quotations, images and interviews, Artists on Art reveals what matters most to the masters. You’ll discover how the giants of the different artistic genres developed their distinctive visual styles, the core ideas that underpin their practice and, most importantly, what art means to you.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Womankind : New Zealand women making a difference / Thomson, Margie
“Profiles and portraits celebrating the successes and diversity of New Zealand women across many spheres – politics, arts, science, community development, business innovation and health. These leaders share their views on what it’s like to be a woman in New Zealand today- the contributions they are most proud of, challenges they have faced and still face, dreams they have and goals for the role of New Zealand women. The range of women covers diverse fields, ages and ethnic backgrounds .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Find our full range of resources featuring Lisa’s work here.

WCL interview: Acclaimed artist Robèrt Franken

Portrait of Robèrt Franken in a studio with his painting.

Wellington artist Robèrt Franken was born in 1946 in The Hague, into a family with a long and rich artistic heritage. He grew up in the studios of Mesdag, connected with the Panorama Mesdag Museum, and is a sixth-generation artist.

Franken has lived in the Wellington region since the late 1960’s. Robèrt Franken and his work have travelled extensively, with exhibitions in Switzerland, The Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and China over many years. His works are also held in numerous national and international collections, including Wellington’s very own Te Papa.

“The Messenger” © Robèrt Franken

Franken works in a wide variety of mediums, such as glass engraving, ceramics, mosaic and oils. He was responsible for the sparklingly, colourful mosaics at the bottom of shallow ponds between the old Town Hall and the Michael Fowler Centre. His works have been described as Surrealist, but Franken walks to much an individual path to be pigeonholed so easily.

“Into the day” © Robèrt Franken

To illustrate this point, here are a couple of quotes from Franken which clearly demonstrate his unwavering commitment to following his own unique artistic path. “As an artist, one tries to invent a language for which I have no words.” and “Perhaps the true measure of an artist is their ability to see things differently, to redefine reality.”

We are thrilled to be interviewing Franken about his practice and, in particular, his new show Reflections in a pond which just opened at the PATAKA Art + Museum in Porirua. Reflections in a pond runs until the 20th of March. If you can’t make it out to Porirua, Franken regularly exhibits at the  Walrus gallery in Wellington.

Follow this link for details of Reflections in a pond at PATAKA Art + Museum, and here for details about the Walrus gallery.

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that you can watch our interview with Robèrt Franken below! Or, if you are more a podcast fan, there is also a podcast version of the interview. We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Robèrt Franken for his time and giving us such a fabulous interview.

Franken: “My special thanks to Jonathan and Alice Milne for being my sponsor over the past 25 years as Artist in Residence at the Learning Connextion, and to Michelle Homer at Walrus Gallery for my Framing and hanging my works.”

All photographs used in the video and displayed above are © Robèrt Franken (All rights reserved).



10.98 seconds of Wellington artists / Maschmeyer, Lennart
“Wellington, like any other place, is made unique by its people. And Wellington is made a unique place especially by its community of artists. Inside these pages are photographs of musicians on stage or painters at work, capturing both their artistic and private sides. Altogether, the amount of time captured by photographs in this book adds up to just over ten seconds, as is the title. “…an intelligent, empathetic and unique record of the contemporary artistic community within the Wellington region.” -Avenal McKinnon (Director New Zealand Portrait Gallery)” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Shane Cotton at City Gallery

If you are looking for something (warm, dry and indoors!) to do in Wellington, I recommend you have a look around City Gallery in Civic Square. They are currently hosting an exhibition by esteemed and iconic New Zealand artist Shane Cotton (Ngāpuhi: Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Hine, Te Uri Taniwha).

Shane Cotton has been a familiar name and figure in New Zealand art since the 1990s and his most recent exhibition, titled The Hanging Sky, features “a succinct and lively presentation of Cotton’s freshest work”. You can check out the full exhibition details on the City Gallery website.

You can find out more about Shane Cotton and his work here at the library:

Syndetics book coverShane Cotton.
“As a presentation of a prominent New Zealand artist, this beautifully designed display of Shane Cotton’s paintings is based on his major 2003 retrospective exhibition at City Gallery in Wellington, New Zealand. Demonstrating the work of Cotton (Ngapuhi: Ngati Rangi, Ngati Hine, Te Uri Taniwha) this volume presents the multiple aspects of his bicultural Maori and Pakeha heritage as well as the nature of New Zealand’s cultural identity.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShane Cotton : The Hanging Sky
“For two decades Shane Cotton (ONZM, Ngapuhi) has been one of New Zealand’s most acclaimed painters. His works of the 1990s played a pivotal part in that decade’s debates about place, belonging and bicultural identity. In the mid 2000s, however, Cotton headed in a spectacular and unexpected new direction: skywards. Employing a sombre new palette of blue and black, he painted the first in what would become a major series of skyscapes-vast, nocturnal spaces where birds speed and plummet. The Hanging Sky brings together highlights from this period with four distinctive new responses.” (Syndetics)

Shane Cotton.
(This was published on the occasion of the exhibition “Shane Cotton” at the Hocken Library in 1999)

Tuakiri : Shane Cotton in the pursuit of identity / Shelley Jahnke.
“Surveys the production of [Shane Cotton’s] work from 1991-2003” (Library Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverTe huringa = Turning points : Pākehā colonisation and Māori empowerment : paintings from the collections of the Fletcher Trust and Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare O Rehua Whanganui.
The exhibition looks at the representation of Māori and Māori subject matter by Pākehā artists and as a turning point the way in which Māori artists have reflected their own ideas and concerns.

Syndetics book coverTaiāwhio II : contemporary Mäori artists : 18 new conversations / general editor Huhana Smith with Oriwa Soloman, Awhina Tamarapa and Megan Tamati-Quennell ; photography by Norman Heke.
“Taiawhio: Conversations with Contemporary Maori artists, now in its third reprint, has proven invaluable to art lovers, students, teachers and those with a passion for New Zealand art. This new volume profiles a fresh range of contemporary Maori artists. Each profile contains pages of information and quotes from the artists so readers can learn, in the artists own words, about their influences and inspirations, work methods and practice, while numerous full-colour photographs accompany each chapter, depicting the artists at work and showing the range of their work and the environment in which they create it. Short biographies are given for each artist profiled and a general introduction by Huhana Smith provides context for the interviews and background information about contemporary Maori art.” (Syndetics)