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!
I love being the South Auckland / Pacific Arts cultural ambassador for Nights on Radio New Zealand. In January, we discussed SOUTH – a publication I have co-edited with Nigel Borell. Issue 2 of SOUTH was launched on 12 January at Papakura Art Gallery and is available for free at art centres and libraries throughout South Auckland. We’re really proud of Issue 2 and excited to start entertaining new stakeholder relationships for Issue 3.
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 tapu / tabu or sacredness informed in part by a recent trip to Fiji and time spent at the Fiji Museum.
“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.