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Ancestry and identity inspire art exhibition, Whanonga Pono Aronui Indigenous Arts Festival

Pānui pāpāho | Media release

16 September 2019

Whakapapa and identity are the inspiration behind the Aronui Indigenous Arts Festival’s latest offering, Whanonga Pono – a vibrant, colourful and bold contemporary art exhibition showing at Rotorua Arts Village.

Artist, Zena Elliott, has created a series of paintings bearing vibrant markings, drawn from geometric and curvilinear visual language.

Zena Elliott

She says each work has a positive and negative relationship, articulated through colour and composition.

“The unseen and seen aspects of the works break through the colour pallet. The natural woodgrain is the design, and the colour combinations enhance and embellish the overall aim – which is the abstract representation of some values and principals made up with a variety of interconnected lines.

“I’d like visitors to have a unique visual experience that reflects my worldview, explored through contemporary Māori art. My aim is that each viewer makes a connection to the artworks either through colour or composition.”

Ms Elliott believes it is important to offer indigenous arts and culture to a variety of communities. She says festivals like the Aronui Indigenous Arts Festival provide opportunities for artists to collaborate and explore notions of art practice across disciplines.

“It’s a space to voice concerns and celebrate relationships and connection. I decided to take part in the Aronui Arts Festival to display a body of artworks to new audiences and whānau within the Waiariki region.

“I’ve whānau connections to Te Arawa and Mataatua and wanted to give my whānau an opportunity to come and engage with my artworks.”

Whanonga Pono exhibition on display at Rotorua Arts Village from 18 to 29 September as part of the month-long Aronui Indigenous Arts Festival.