Takatāpui Art Exhibition to launch digital gallery

By Mare Haimona-Riki

Pride month is being observed around the world this February, and Aotearoa is celebrating 50 years since the first gay liberations march, led by Ngāhuia Te Awetoku in 1972.

To commemorate this milestone, Auckland Pride has launched its first-ever Takatāpui Festival which includes Te Timatanga - an art exhibition showcasing the talent, resilience and lived experiences of Takatāpui creatives.

By commissioning seven Takatāpui artists to showcase their work through public art installations across Aotea Square, Albert Park, Britomart, Commercial Bay, Viaduct Harbour and Silo Park, the exhibition hopes to be beacon of aroha and diversity. 

Caretakers Cottage in Albert Park, Central Auckland will house various artworks from a range of Māori creatives, which will be available to the public through an online digital tour.  Festival director, Hāmiora Bailey, says this was the method to navigate around Covid restrictions.

"The digital gallery will have a Shopify and we've done a full video walk-through and each of the artists is getting a profile, so we're still really trying to whakamanatia our artists to make sure their hard work is really communicated."

Tyson Campbell, of Te Rarawa and Ngāti Maniapoto, is one of the artists whose work is on display as part of the exhibition His piece is called Papahou and is made of raro and edible glitter. 

"I wanted to use something kind of nostalgic so I used raspberry raro. So it's a raspberry kind of pink crystal that I created using a stencil. So I abstracted the shape from the carving and then covered it in raspberry as a nostalgic kind of nod."

His mahi is derived from an 18th-century carving that was found in the British Museum, depicting same-sex coupling within whakairo, which for him is living proof that, "takatāpuitanga did resist before colonisation."

The digital gallery will be available on the Auckland Pride Website from the 18th of this month.