Paperskin exhibition – last two days

Paperskin – the art of tapa cloth is closing this weekend, on Sunday 12 September.  If you haven’t been to see these amazing tapa works, now is the time to come into Te Papa.

It will also be your last chance for some time to see the 22 metre Tongan ngatu (tapa), made in 1953 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Tonga.  It has never been displayed unrolled like this before and it looks incredible on the long curving wall in this gallery.

I visited the exhibition this afternoon – for the last time. From so many wonderful tapa works it’s difficult to decide on a favourite, but this is mine:

Hiapo (tapa cloth), 19th Century, Maker unknown, Niue. Gift of A. Hamilton, 1912. Te Papa

The patterns on this Niuean hiapo from the 1800s are so intricate and fine.  They are literally quite dazzling – as you look at it the patterns seem to shift and move.

It’s visually astounding and inspiring, like so many of the tapa pieces in this exhibition.

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