About the exhibition

In Tākiri, An Unfurling, seven contemporary artists explore early Māori and European encounters through new work inspired by museum taonga. Through soundscape, photography, illustration, cloth making, weaving and sculpture, each artist explores and confronts the ongoing impact of these historic events.

The exhibition runs from 12 October 2019 - 7 June 2020 at the Edmiston Gallery, Hui Te Ananui A Tangaroa New Zealand Maritime Museum. 

Tākiri, An Unfurling is part of the nationwide Tuia 250 commemoration and is supported by funding from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board Te Puna Tahua,Chisholm Whitney Charitable Trust and Pub Charity.

  • Reweti Arapere (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Tūwharetoa)
  • Chris Charteris (iKiribati, Fijian, English)
  • Kohai Grace (Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Porou, Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Raukawa)
  • Nikau Gabrielle Hindin (Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi)
  • Jasmine Togo-Brisby (Australian South Sea Islander)
  • Rongomaiaia Te Whaiti (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Ngāi Hinewaka, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kuri, Ngāi Tūāhuriri, Ngāti Waewae) 
  • 7558 Collective

Tuia – Encounters 250 was a commemoration in 2019 marking 250 years since the first encounters between Māori and Pākehā in 1769. Tuia 250 celebrated Aotearoa New Zealand’s Pacific voyaging heritage and was a national opportunity to hold honest conversations about the past, the present and how we navigate our shared future.

 

Addressing the impact of slavery in the Pacific 

Jasmine Togo-Brisby, a fourth-generation Australian South Sea Islander, descends from Ambae and Santo people, who were kidnapped and shipped from Vanuatu to Australia as slaves from 1863 to 1903. Over the period, 60,000 South Sea Islanders were exploited for the economic benefit of white-owned colonial enterprises in the unlawful practice known as blackbirding. Togo-Brisby links blackbirding to the 1772-1775 voyages of captains James Cook and Tobias Furneaux and to their respective ships HMS RESOLUTION and HMS ADVENTURE.

In her self portrait series for Tākiri, An Unfurling, she attaches one of the ships’ medals as a nose ring. Through this adornment, she not only acknowledges the role this history plays in her identity but also the lack of knowledge of her people’s history. In a further act of displacement, the largest mass deportation in Australian history took place when South Sea Islanders were deported from Australia under the Pacific Island Labourers Act 1901, an overture to the White Australia policy. Such acts of racial discrimination have resulted in a legacy of trauma and resilience. 

Why would the artist choose to hang the medal from her nose?

He hītori kua tāmia – A suppressed history

Australian South Sea Islander, artist and mother.

Her work speaks to a culture that originated in the Pacific slave trade and advocates for the acceptance of her people in Australia today.

Cook’s achievements in the Pacific were both remarkable and catastrophic.

He charted and mapped enormous swathes of the Pacific in fantastic detail. In doing this, he created viable pathways to and from the Pacific that other nations could use and ultimately exploit.

Cook also brought new concepts of materialism to the Pacific. His secret orders instructed him to “cultivate a friendship and alliance ... making them presents of such trifles as they may value”. For these ends, Cook used the Resolution and Adventure Medal. Two gold, 106 silver and about 2,000 platina Resolution and Adventure Medals were struck for distribution over the course of Cook’s second voyage. One side depicts King George III, the other side shows the two ships. 

TĀKIRI TALKS PODCAST

Trade: Culture created in the hulls of slave ships

In this episode of Tākiri Talks, we unfurl exploitation through different lenses of trade.

Listen now

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ARTIST BIO

Jasmine Togo-Brisby

Jasmine is a multidisciplinary artist based in Wellington, who works across a range of media including photography, installation and sculpture. Jasmine is a fourth generation Australian South Sea Islander, the descendants of Pacific islanders who were forcefully taken to Australia as a result of slave labour policies employed by the Australian government between 1863 and 1903.

OTHER PROJECTS FROM THE ARTIST

  • If these walls could talk, they’d tell you my name, 2019, installation view, Wellington, New Zealand. Read more

  • Ask the Sea, Adrift Amidst the Middle Passage, 2019, collodion on glass series. Read more

  • Post-Plantation, 2017, lightbox. Read more

  • Bitter Sweet, 2013 - 2015, sculpture made up of a pile of skulls cast in unrefined sugar. Read more (Stuff), Read more (RNZ)

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