Engaging the architecture of warfare on the colonial frontier with the language of war memorials in times of peace, Tai Moana Tai Tangata commemorates historical events that saw Taranaki and Tainui Māori suffer the harshest penalties of the colonial process.
In 2019 contemporary Māori artist Brett Graham (Ngāti Koroki Kahukura, Tainui) spent six weeks in Taranaki as the Govett-Brewster Artist in Residence.
Connecting with tangata whenua and his extended whānau, Graham researched the history of the relationship between Taranaki and Tainui Māori, focussing on the pact of solidarity forged during the New Zealand Wars.
The resulting exhibition Tai Moana Tai Tangata reflects on those events and projects the lessons learned through colonisation into the future; dark visions of a world corrupted by human endeavour that issue a grave warning in the present.
This photo essay of the exhibition was made for the publication Brett Graham: Tai Moana Tai Tangata – designed by Neil Pardington Design and soon to be appearing on this website! Great care was taken to create images that represent the powerful and atmospheric presentation of the artworks. This involved careful composition and exposure combined with extensive post-production work to neutralise the multiple light sources and diminish the impact of the busy architectural structures while representing the artworks with clarity and fidelity.
Brett Graham is a sculptor who creates large-scale art works and installations that explore Indigenous histories, politics and philosophies and engage with histories of imperialism and global issues.