Sculpture graces foyer of He Toki Kai Te Rika

The new multimillion-dollar training facility on our Dunedin Campus, features no shortage of great spaces in which the next generation of ākonga can learn.

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One of the most impressive spaces is the foyer, which is graced by a wonderful sculpture.

Created by Māori student Aidan Taira Geraghty (Kai Tahu, Ngāi Tūāhuriri), the sculpture is titled "Punga o te Pō ki te Ao Mārama - Everything Went Black on Both Sides" – comprising a series of wooden forms that represent a waka, with a pounamu anchor.

Otago Polytechnic chose this artwork (exhibited at last year’s Student Showcase) specifically for He Toki Kai Te Rika.

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"My art practice draws on a bicultural narrative, as I attempt to visualise the feeling of displacement felt by generations of Tākata Whenua through a contemporary medium" Aidan explains.

"Predominantly utilising recycled materials from an urban environment, I breathe new life into discarded objects with a prior austere, colonial objective (railway sleepers, school desks, farming materials).

"These objects take on sculptural forms that invite viewers to look at these materials in a new light, to ponder on the potential beauty that can evolve from a negative connotation.

"Blackened with tattoo ink, sleepers take on the form of Taurapa, Tauihu and Parata. Choreographed into two groups, these forms represent different generations of Māori.

"One group is adorned with anti-establishment markings of the 21st century, graffiti and traditional (sailor) tattooing. The other evokes that of an earlier generation, inviting these new(er) forms into the conversation of what it means to have a bicultural identity."

Published on 19 Sep 2023