Nina Oberg Humphries


17 Oct — 29 Nov


Image: Nina Oberg Humphries, TA'AI, 2020.

Exhibition opening: Friday 16 October, 5:30pm
Exhibition runs: 17 October – 29 November
Exhibition talk with Nina Oberg Humphries: Saturday 17 October, 2pm

Ta’ai in Samoan is the action of binding, it is also the word scratched onto the surface of an ava ipu (kava cup), as part of the Oldman collection, housed in Canterbury Museum. During her time as the 2020 Creative New Zealand / University of Canterbury Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies Artist in Residence, Nina Oberg Humphries examined items from the Oldman collection and invited members of Canterbury’s Pacific community to engage with them, to recall memories and stories of their experiences of living in, or growing up in Aotearoa.

These stories are encoded in the recreation of a Cook Island God staff and video work where the act of wrapping and feather adornment are central to connecting and containing the mana of relationships and the Pacific-Aotearoa experience.

This exhibition is a result of the ongoing partnership between The Physics Room and the University of Canterbury Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies to present work and research produced during the residency.


Christchurch born and bred, Nina Oberg Humphries (b.1990) is of Cook Islands and Pākehā descent. Nina graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in Sculpture from Ilam School of Fine Arts in 2018. Her work explores her dual Pacific and Western heritage. Through the use of traditional Polynesian art forms such as Tivaevae, costume and dance, combined with elements of popular culture she seeks to convey issues of gender, identity, and social politics.

In 2017 she worked with SCAPE Public Art and artists, performers, and practitioners to develop the community engaged work ‘ARE PASIFIKA, a five-week series of events, workshops, and activities highlighting Pacific arts and culture. She has also exhibited throughout Aotearoa including Centre of Contemporary Art Toi Moroki, St Paul St Gallery, and Enjoy Contemporary Art Space.