Artist: Keri-Mei Zagrobelna
Photographer and Digital Artist: Norm Heke
Curator: Awhina Tamarapa
18 June – 26 September 2021
Te Whanganui-a-Tara based artist Keri-Mei Zagrobelna’s new exhibition Whakahoki draws inspiration from the Maramataka Māori Lunar calendar to celebrate Matariki in the Courtenay Place Park light boxes.
In Whakahoki, Zagrobelna considers how working within Te Ao Māori can bring balance and meaning to our lives, with a particular focus on mental health. The artist looks at how the Maramataka’s cycles through darkness and light can offer guidance on navigating similar phases in our own lives.
Zagrobelna has created contemporary jewellery and object art to interpret sixteen of the thirty lunar nights from the Maramataka. She uses a diverse array of materials in her handcrafted pieces including obsidian, shells, kowhai seeds, glass and pounamu. The unique objects have been translated into a series of striking light box images with photography by Norm Heke. Zagrobelna and Heke worked closely together to create digital imagery that captures the essence and kaupapa for each of the corresponding Maramataka nights. The imagery pulls viewers into the space of the Maramataka, providing an opportunity to interpret the night’s meaning and relevance. The title Whakahoki refers to Zagrobelna’s engagement with the Maramataka as a way to ‘return, respond and give back’. She hopes the exhibition will prompt audiences to consider the relevance of indigenous knowledge to contemporary life.
About the artists
Keri-Mei Zagrobelna (Te Āti-Awa, Te Whānau a Apanui) is an emerging contemporary Māori artist who seeks to build cross-cultural understanding and relationships through her work. Zagrobelna has exhibited and presented her work nationally and internationally including as part of the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts New Zealand delegation in Guam (2016) and at Crypt Gallery, London (2018).