Wahine toi Māori shines at Te Tairāwhiti Arts festival

By Mare Haimona-Riki

Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival in Gisborne is in full swing, showcasing some of the best talents Ngāi Māori has to offer in many areas including arts, dance, music and theatre.

One of the talented people participating is Wellington-based artist Ariki Brightwell.

Of Māori, Cook Island, and Tahitian descent, Brightwell's work has been on display throughout the motu. Her most recent piece is Tūmoremore, a sculpture on display at the Te Ara i Whiti light trail at the festival.

“Tumoremore is the great Marikihau who dwells in the waters of Tūranga and Ahuriri, with ties to Horouta and Takitimu,” Brightwell says.

Tūmoremore. Source / Facebook 

She says this sculpture was created “on the fly.” She built it in four weeks and painted it in three days with the help of whānau and friends.

“The entire piece was cut out with a jigsaw, using power tools to shape him.”

The festival will run till the end of this week, and then it's back to work for Brightwell, as she is working on a new painting and has other projects lined up.

I intend to tour Tūmoremore to festivals and exhibit him at public spaces as well as create numerous marikihau for other sites of significance.”