The next gen: Te Auaha graduate shows

15 November 2018

One year on from its opening, Te Auaha's first cohort of students are busily presenting their final work for the year – from the performing and visual arts to music, digital design and more.

In an exclusive preview of two upcoming graduate exhibitions, Aotearoa's emerging artists and designers share insights into their work and creative practice.

Image: Courtesy of Te Auaha

See Collidescope 2018, Te Auaha's Creative Technologies and Applied Arts graduate exhibition from 23 November – 11 December 2018 and Toa Takatini – success of many the Visual Arts & Toi Poutama graduate exhibition from 14 December 2018 – 25 January 2019 at Te Auaha Gallery, 65 Dixon Street, Wellington.

Rakairoa Hori – Bachelor of Applied Arts

I am of Māori descent, my tribal affiliations on my mother’s side being Ngāti Toa ki Hongoeka, Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai and Ngāti Porou ki Tūpāroa, and on my father’s side, Te Rārawa ki Te Ohaki and Ngāti Maniapoto ki Oparure.

ThenextgenTeAuahagraduateshows2.jpg Rakairoa Hori

Image: Courtesy of Te Auaha

For me the customary practice of whakairo is a life-time learning experience and steeped within a cultural legacy that I respect and gain a lot of inspiration from.

I first learnt to carve through a course offered at Te Wānanga o Raukawa, and was also taught by my Koro when I was 14 years old. Since then I have kept up the practice and maintained an interest and passion for the art form. I have completed whakairo work for commissions and public exhibitions, waka and marae projects, and also special gifts for whānau.

Ngā mahi whakairo, ngā mahi a Rua – The art of carving, the art of Rua.

Māori proverb -

To come through this final year of the degree in Applied Arts and complete the body of work, I have been able to reach another stage of my ‘life-time learning’. The focus of my body of work has been to increase my skills to produce three dimensional carved figures, such as tekoteko. On accomplishing this has been very self-fulfilling and it also helps build my portfolio.

I intend to uphold foundations learnt and continue whakairo with confidence to take my practice into the future. It is also in this way I will ensure the art form is passed on.


Image: Wheku (series 1), 2018 by Rakairoa Hori

Tia Venning Bachelor of Applied Arts

Insight into the assiduous work of our people in the health sector was my inspiration for the study of human anatomy and creating jewellery that reflects the relationship between the patient and their carers.


Image: Inside/Out series by Tia Venning

The series ‘Inside/Out’ represents that interaction by examining the human body interior at both scale and microscopic levels. Of particular interest to me is the cardiovascular system with its exchange of nutrients between arteries, veins, and capillaries.

The translation of this system into contemporary jewellery worn outside of the body is a representation of the ineluctable transaction between people who are at first strangers but end up sharing an unavoidable physicality as I observed and experienced firsthand during an extended stay in hospital.

Renée Pearson Bachelor of Applied Arts

Renée Pearson is a visual artist and jeweller.

ThenextgenTeAuahagraduateshows5.jpg Renée Pearson

Image: Courtesy of Te Auaha

In her work she explores social and philosophical concepts relevant to the fast paced, rapidly changing world. Working predominantly with greywacke, the most common of New Zealand stones, Renée‘s objects have an archaeological reference alluding to the inevitable transience of the human situation.

The whole is more than the sum of its parts

Aristotle -

This work is an exploration of mechanics and anatomy: the mechanics of anatomy, and the anatomy of mechanics. Examining function and non-function through fragmented elements that are usually overlooked, each part plays a vital role in the function of the whole.


Image: Anatomy 101 series by Reneé Pearson

Alex Donovan Bachelor of Creative Technologies

I am a visual artist based in Wellington that specialises in digital illustration.

I enjoy building fictional worlds with fantasy themes and exploring different mediums to tell stories. My main project this year has been to convey a narrative through means of illustration, concept design, and creative writing, as well as game design.


Image: by Alex Donovan

My main area of interest lies in creating illustrations which are primarily done digitally. I enjoy the freedom of experimentation this allows for and I find that I can be more adventurous through this method.

I am inspired by impressionist paintings with gestural brush strokes. I aim to create a painterly aesthetic with my digital works to give them the feel of traditional paintings. My current project has been influenced by concept art from a variety of card games, video games and movies.


Image: by Alex Donovan

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