The scholarship, creativity, professionalism, enthusiasm, commitment and sheer hard work of the Kahu Ora: Living Cloaks team came to fruition today in the VISA gallery, and tomorrow will be on view to the public.
It’s a very beautiful exhibition, and visitors will love to be transported into Te Whare Pora – the House of Weaving. People I spoke to never fully understood that a tradition of cloak making, of the creation of stunning textile objects from local materials, was among the gifts of Māori culture.
From my perspective, as the project manager for the development of the exhibition, it was a point of pride to realise how Te Papa’s curatorial expertise, its broad range of research knowledge, and its understanding of how to care for these objects is such that Te Papa is recognised internationally as a repository of cloak matauranga. This solid foundation allows our skilled museum professionals to design an experience that will allow our visitors to fully engage with this scholarship.
Maureen Lander’s stunning art commission will attract lots of admiration, and the soundscape composed by Richard Nunns and Steve Garden is sublime. And of course the cloaks themselves, largely from Te Papa’s own collection, but also from other museums (including a rare example from the National Art Gallery of Australia) and private individuals, take centre stage. And all of this installed to the highest standards by our team of installers.
Now that the exhibition is open – congratulations, everybody – other expertise takes over. There will be weavers demonstrating their craft in the Weavers’ Studio. The Te Papa hosts will be on hand to guide visitors through the experience. There is a carefully thought out Education programme, and rich and exciting Events have been designed to further support the exhibition.
The specially created website, Kākahu Online, brings all of this information, and more, together in one place, and allows access to Kahu Ora: Living Cloaks to people in Aotearoa and around the world who, despite their best efforts, may not be able to make it to the gallery.
Project Manager, Kahu Ora: Living Cloaks