Hey māmā, come play with me
Exhibition preview: Wednesday 20 February at 5.30pm
Exhibition runs: 21 February–31 March 2019
Exhibition Talk with Turumeke Harrington and Jamie Hanton, Thursday 21 February, 12pm.
In Hey māmā, come play with me Turumeke Harrington has made an installation-come-playground in order to engage audiences in small moments of respite from daily life. In creating the exhibition, Harrington is also working towards understanding and validating her own art-making process, posing the question ‘What makes something right?’ Drawing on a range of disciplines, knowledge systems, and personal beliefs, where each has its own priorities and values, this question becomes difficult to approach. In this respect, the playground becomes a testing ground for the limits of these various parameters.
Working at the intersection between design and art, and utilising a material vernacular familiar with play and our everyday: rope, steel, and rubber, Harrington explores ideas of craft and whakapapa in contemporary Māori practice. These newly created objects, which, for the purpose of exhibition are placed into conversation with one another, are essentially distinct but modular things. Each was borne out of a specific need—a problem to be solved. However, when existing semi-passively in the gallery they become dysfunctional and could perhaps be described as failed design (and therefore descend into the realm of art).
In this context, the question of ‘rightness’ becomes almost pointless. Rather, Harrington considers the lifespan of an artwork as a measure for success; where do works go to die? Can they have another life? After this exhibition it is highly likely that these pieces of art, these industrial objects, these playthings will be repurposed in the home to gratefully fulfil more pressing needs.
Turumeke Harrington (Ngāi Tahu) is an installation and sculpture-focused artist with a background in fine arts and industrial design. She graduated with a BFA (Hons) from Ilam School of Fine Arts at the University of Canterbury in 2018. Turumeke lives with her young daughter between Ōhinehau / Lyttelton and Pōneke/ Wellington.
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