Posts tagged ‘Concealed Ancestors’

Margaret Aull

Margaret Aull

Title: Mata nui
Date: 2012
Series: Concealed Ancestors
Medium: Acrylic, Gold Leaf, Ochre and Paper on Board
Dimensions: 800x800mm [circular]

Artist Statement

My work is an investigation of the notion of Tapu / Tabu, a cultural construct embedded in most indigenous frameworks. For both Māori and Fijians, objects and personal items were often created as visual representations of ancestors and gods often imbued with mana and fear, a spiritual governing law / lore that could transform the mundane into veneration. Imagery and meaning could be transferred or transported through its reproduced format.

I am interested in the type of reverence applied to such objects, and the relationships that existed with their owners and communities during their “life” time. In Museum collections, the value and context of the objects have shifted and changed over time. Its ‘life force’ subdued and dormant as if defunct from the life and intent it emerged from.

The images I have referenced and adopted, as visual representations, aim to reclaim and re-activate meaning as personal cultural signifiers. Traditional ochre/oil for masi (Fijian bark cloth) is a way of locating my identity, bringing forth whenua / vanua (land) within my work. The traditional nature of the pigment challenges the way I work; its natural form resisting synthetic composites destabilizing surfaces… a response perhaps to my blurred genetic code as Māori, Fijian and other.

Concealed Ancestors becomes a way to test boundaries and explore tensions between what is culturally prohibited and what is respectable. These ancestors are concealed within museums, within display cabinets, representatives of a people or a provenance. I am interested in the value of such objects, the cultural negotiations / obligations of collectors and the space between the physical and spiritual.


Margaret Aull (Te Rarawa, Tūwharetoa, Fiji) completed undergraduate studies at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and Waikato Institute of Technology where she completed a Bachelor of Media Arts winning the Waikato Museum ArtsPost Award for excellence in Academic Record in 2006.

Aull has exhibited extensively in New Zealand since 2005 with a solo exhibition entitled Na Kena Yali (Loss) at the Chartwell Gallery, Hamilton in 2008 and Concealed Ancestors at Papakura Art Gallery, Auckland in 2013. She is currently studying to complete a Master of Fine Arts degree at Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design and is employed as the Art Collection Curator for Te Wananga o Aotearoa in Te Awamutu.

Aull’s work reflects the tensions of culture and identity between her Fijian and Māori ancestry. Her work is the ongoing effort to  find equilibrium between the two cultural powerhouses by investigating the relationships of whakapapa, faith and politics. She is a noted painter but currently expanding her practice into sculpture and installation. Aull has works in private and public collections including Auckland Council, The Barry Hopkins Art Collection, Fiji Museum, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and Open Wānanga Collections, Waikato Institute of Technology and Waikato Museum of Art and History.

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Fijian-Mãori artist Margaret Aull’s solo exhibition, Concealed Ancestors ends this Saturday 23 February at Papakura Art Gallery, South Auckland. A massively well-received exhibition, only three of the nine works on paper are unsold.

During the exhibition, Margaret presented an excellent artist talk on Saturday 9 February, and also managed to present some impressive new work in her end of year assessment exhibition at Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design where she is currently studying to complete a Master of Fine Arts.

Well done, Margaret!

It was a pleasure to work on this project alongside co-curator Nigel Borell. Margaret is a super organised and professional artist; helping her deliver this beautiful solo show was a joy!

This video briefly documents the journey of Fijian-Maori visual artist Margaret Aull from her Te Awamutu studio in the Waikato to her solo exhibition at Papakura Art Gallery in South Auckland. I co-curated Margaret’s solo exhibition, Concealed Ancestors with Nigel Borell; the exhibition features sculpture and works on paper and runs until 23 February 2013. Read more here.

This video was shot and edited by Leilani Kake and produced as an archival record with support from the Pacific Arts Committee, Creative New Zealand and Toi o Manukau.

Concealed Ancestors
A solo exhibition by Margaret Aull

Works for Sale


Acrylic, ochre, graphite, ink, 24-carat gold leaf on paper


Framed 700 x 932mm








"Urenui" (2012)Urenui

Acrylic, aerosol, ink on paper


Framed 619 x 824mm








8244207524_ddfc45f32b_cRe-configure ethnographic

Acrylic, graphite, ink on paper


Framed 700 x 932mm








8374419681_81d3d2abfaMata Rangatira

Acrylic, ink on paper


Framed 619 x 824mm









8244209424_de1a162a30_cI told you it started here!

Ochre, graphite, ink, 24-carat gold leaf on paper


Framed 700 x 932mm








8244206278_23d61212de_zHaere mai, Vanua

Acrylic, ink, ochre on paper


Framed 905 x 1218mm









8243140703_4cdc16c1cf_zWhakapapa transfer station

Acrylic, graphite, ink, 24-carat gold leaf on paper


Framed 700 x 932mm









Matakau [installation]

2-pac gloss acrylic, Totara


Dimensions variable











Pacific – niger

Acrylic, ink, ochre on paper


Framed 700 x 932mm









"E Moemoea" (2012) by Margaret AullE Moemoea

Acrylic, ochre on paper


Framed 700 x 932mm









All works 2012, mounted on acid free mat board, framed using UV-reflective glass.

Prices listed in New Zealand dollars.

Framed dimensions refer to the size of the glass, actual size is approximately 50mm larger.

The exhibition Concealed Ancestors (12 January – 23 February 2013) at Papakura Art Gallery was supported with funding from the Pacific Arts Committee, Creative New Zealand and Toi o Manukau.

Read more about Concealed Ancestors here

Contact Ema Tavola for further information and sales enquiries: Mb (NZ) 027 5779369 / Email

Oceania is my natural habitat… at times, I am overwhelmed with longing.

I think of the ocean often.

I remember the feeling of belonging, of breathing warm air and feeling my feet touching the ground and feeling secure. Grounded.

Suva rain and softened earth
In between heaven and here
My heart… beats… home

I am the Ocean

Not visiting. Not searching.
She is my rhythm and I am her soul.
I see myself in people and smiles. I feel myself in spaces between

[I am a Fijian in silence]

Fiji Museum

The smell of collecting is intoxicating.

Noble. Memories. Frozen.
A History of Colonial Encounter.
Objects boxed, cased, pinned. Mana dissected.

In traces of silvery residue, I see slivers of my past.

Imperfect empowered

Excavating identity
Interrogating memory / loss

Eyes and tattooed mouths
Fingers and hands

She crafts inky dreams

Painting in the gaps of our mixed genealogy

Anchored by new roots

Diaspora distorts colonisation

Generations [re]moved
Tradition and a new transmission
The economic burden and first world sacrifice

Emo- evolution
Facebook family and a digital constitution
Fiji Online


Fijian sasa broom at Margaret Aull's studio, Te Awamutu

Concealed Ancestors

In language and behind eyes
I am your anger

In signs and knotted hair
In blood and sweat

You are my limits and my potential

I am filled with your journey
An agent of future souls

This is an experimental piece of writing by Ema Tavola developed for the exhibition catalogue of Concealed Ancestors – A solo exhibition by Margaret Aull

This custom-made aluminum and reflective vinyl road sign has been designed by Fijian-Māori visual artist, Margaret Aull. In only its second public showing, the work entitled “Seek Utopia – The Way home (series), Hawaiki nui: 2/4″ (2012) will be part of Margaret’s upcoming solo exhibition, Concealed Ancestors at Papakura Art Gallery, South Auckland.

In a Māori world view there are operative parallels that exist pertaining to physical and spiritual realms.

Hawaiki nui is a mythological place kept alive through waiata, oratory and whaikorero. Its exact co-ordinates have been blurred over time. The explosion of global positioning through the internet can remove the mystery of sacred and profound places such as Hawaiki nui.

By creating a road sign to Hawaiki nui it is intended that the place transitions from the mythological world into the present, directing travelers at least towards a place that exists on State Highway 1, Aotearoa.

– Margaret Aull

The work will be installed in the Gallery’s road-facing window vitrine from 12 January – 23 February 2013.

Concealed Ancestors also features a series of works on paper and a sculptural installation, all of which have been produced as part of the artist’s post-graduate studies at Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design.

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I’m currently writing about Fijian-Māori visual artist, Margaret Aull’s new work for her upcoming exhibition, Concealed Ancestors.

I met Margaret in 2008 in Suva, Fiji – we were both part of the Vasu: Pacific Women of Power project at the Oceania Centre for Arts and Culture at the University of the South Pacific. Since then, we’ve worked together on a number of projects and I’ve enjoyed seeing her work shift and change.

Margaret’s work is intentionally and unintentionally a declaration of her cultural position as a Fijian-Māori / Māori-Fijian. She has made work exploring flags, identity and ownership, as in the work Kiwi mate (2011) [above] and explored political similarities and colonial struggle of both Fiji and Aotearoa.

In a review in Eyeline magazine (Issue 73), Tessa Laird describes Margaret’s work, Tino Rangatiratanga and Coups (2010)as, “a broken composition that is part flag, part museum display case, with fragmented artifacts subjected to colonial categorisation and branding”. The work was created for the exhibition Native Coconut at Fresh Gallery Otara featuring three artists who share both Māori and Pacific Island ancestry.

Last year, Margaret trialled collaborating with a graphic designer to develop the work Fiji ki Aotearoa (2011) which was shown in the exhibition diasporadic679 at various venues in Ōtāhuhu in acknowledgment of Fiji Independence Day.

The work in Concealed Ancestors is a further shift in thinking and aesthetic consideration. The exhibition showcases a series of works on paper and a sculptural installation. Produced as part of Margaret’s post-graduate studies, the work is an in-depth visual enquiry into the concept of taputabu or sacredness informed in part by a recent trip to Fiji and time spent at the Fiji Museum.

Concealed Ancestors runs from 12 January – 23 February 2013 at Papakura Art Gallery, 10 Averill Street, Papakura, South Auckland

“E Moemoea” (2012) by Margaret Aull, acrylic, ink, collage on paper.

Concealed Ancestors is the upcoming solo exhibition by Waikato-based visual artist, Margaret Aull, co-curated by Nigel Borell and Ema Tavola for Papakura Art Gallery, South Auckland.

In this new body of work, Aull investigates the concept of tapu / tabu within both Maori and Fijian cultural frameworks. Inspired by research at the Fiji Museum, she explores visual representations of ancestors and deities, spiritual lore, mana and life force.

Utlising ochre used in the making of masi (traditional Fijian bark cloth), Aull incorporates the whenua / vanua within her work. Juxtaposed with imagery from Museum collections, she reclaims and re-activates meaning, creating visual mediations of her blurred genetic code.

Margaret Aull (Te Rarawa, Tuwharetoa, Fiji) has exhibited extensively in New Zealand since 2005 and is currently completing a Master of Fine Arts at Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design.

Check out Concealed Ancestors at Papakura Art Gallery from 12 January – 23 February 2013.

Concealed Ancestors is produced with support from the Pacific Arts Committee, Creative New Zealand and Toi o Manukau.

Click here to read more about Concealed Ancestors

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