Penny Howard – Te Whakahoki: A Sort of Homecoming
Preview: Sun 7 February, 2 – 4pm
Artist Talk: Sat 13 February, 2pm
Penny Howard (Te Mahurehure, Ngāpuhi) was impelled to create the paintings and drawings in this body of work through a profound sense of anger. Her perusal of recent online sales of historic Māori artefacts – taonga tüturu– at the British auction house, Sothebys, at huge prices, motivated her to re-capture them, and by extending from their photographic images, she is ensuring they are brought back to us, if not literally, at least figuratively: te hokinga ki tēnei kāinga o Aotearoa New Zealand. Penny is re-claiming our existential heritage and her work incorporates not only these taonga, but also the red thread of te mauri interconnecting Māori, and them as always living tūpuna or ancestors ever deeply vested to the land. More, her depiction of ngā manu – birds – in her drawings, is a further visceral embodiment of this ever-present spiritual interconnectedness of taonga and the entire Māori ethos; te ao Māori katoa. The birds are kaitiaki of these taonga, ready to escort them back to where they ontologically belong.
Penny graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 1995. She has work in the permanent collections of the Wallace Arts Trust, Foundation North, Auckland Events Centre, the University of Auckland and in public and private collections across New Zealand, Australia, the UK, and China.