Thursday, May 23, 2024

Arts Minister congratulates Mataaho Collective on golden win

Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Paul Goldsmith has congratulated Mataaho Collective for winning the Golden Lion for best participant in the main exhibition at the Venice Biennale.

“Congratulations to the Mataaho Collective for winning one of the world’s most prestigious art prizes at the Venice Biennale.”

“It is good to see New Zealand artists excelling internationally, and showcasing the best of our art and culture to the world.

“This win is a glowing endorsement of the brilliant work of the Mataaho collective and shows, again, our artists are world leaders,” said Mr Goldsmith.

This prestigious prize was awarded to Mataaho Collective by an international panel of jurors out of 332 participants in the International Exhibition.

The Mataaho Collective comprises four wāhine Māori practitioners: Erena Arapere-Baker (Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai, Ngāti Toa Rangātira), Sarah Hudson (Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Pūkeko), Bridget Reweti (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi) and Terri Te Tau (Rangitāne ki Wairarapa). 

In the judge’s speech they noted:

“Mataaho Collective has created a luminous woven structure of straps that poetically crisscross the gallery space. Referring to matrilinear traditions of textiles with its womb-like cradle, the installation is both a cosmology and a shelter. Its impressive scale is a feat of engineering that was only made possibly by the collective strength and creativity of the group. The dazzling pattern of shadows cast on the walls and floor harks back to ancestral techniques and gestures to future uses of such techniques.”

Sarah Hudson spoke on behalf of the collective at the awards ceremony held in Venice last night, acknowledging what the award meant, that it would encourage other artists and spoke of the importance of the exhibition’s themes exploring ingenious and queer culture.

“It means so much to be given a platform here, we know it will inspire many queer and indigenous artists,” she said.

Likened to winning gold at the Olympics, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, Creative New Zealand said in a statement following the group’s win.

Creative New Zealand’s Amanda Hereaka is in Venice. 

“It has been such an incredible privilege to be on the ground in Venice to witness this historical moment. We were already celebrating the invitation of our five ngā toi Māori artists as part of the International Exhibition, but for Mataaho Collective to win this prestigious award as well, has just been phenomenal,” said Mr Hereaka.

“This award recognises, on the biggest global platform, the importance and relevance of ngā toi Māori and New Zealand art; we should all celebrate this wonderful achievement. Congratulations!”

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