Gallery 1, 2, 3

X-MARKS: CONVERSATIONS IN CLOTH

Until 3 July
Floor talk Wednesday 26 June at 6pm

On loan from Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi, the exhibition explores the relationships established between the early missionary and settler wives and Maori women living in the Bay of Islands in the early 1800s, through the medium of textiles. Vivien Caughley, Makareta Jahnke, Maureen Lander, Toi Te Rito Maihi and Dude Beatson, Michelle Mayn and Jo Torr are among participating artists, as indeed is Northcote artist Helen Schamorth.

The exhibition is divided into eight sections, each bringing to life the long silent voices of women – Maori and Pakeha  - from this pivotal time in the history of Aotearoa|New Zealand. A well-written and informative short catalogue essay by textile scholar and writer Vivien Caughley, together with an artist statement on the work inspired by the specific subject, accompanies each section. Thus ‘M-Marks. Signals’  backgrounds Dinah Hall, one of the first missionary wives to arrive in the Bay of Islands in 1814,  the friendship between Ruatara of Rangihoua and the missionaries and the flying of flags and ensigns - Maori and British - in the area. Artist Maureen Lander then relates the 1805–1820 timeline recorded in her two stitched flags. ‘Hannah King and Ewhora. X-Marked garments’ outlines the story of Mrs King, the youngest of the first three missionary wives, and that of ten year-old Ewhora, daughter of Ruatara, and his principal wife whom she taught to sew garments. Artist Jo Torr notes that “recorded incident where Ewhora was given a “piece of print” and taught by accomplished needlewoman Hannah King to construct two gowns, is the exchange that most resonated for me and to which I have responded” in her making of two red gowns from linen and dressed flax (muka). 

‘X-marks. Conversations in Cloth’ is supported by a grant from the Kaipatiki Local Board.