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Young creatives tell story of cultural identity  

Young creatives tell story of cultural identity  

  • 05 Jul 2021
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Henderson Intermediate students' art is on display as part of the Ka Tipu Ka Rea exhibition.

Ka Tipu Ka Rea is a celebration of culture and identity, where students from Henderson Intermediate School pay homage to their experience of growing up in Aotearoa, through art. 

Staged at Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery, Ka Tipu Ka Rea features the work of nearly 90 students’ art creations. 

Henderson Intermediate School Art Teacher Anna Delany explains she has been supporting her students to create beautiful pieces which celebrate culture and identity. 

“The title of the exhibition takes its name from the school motto: Flourish and Grow, and through their art, students have acknowledged and honoured their experience of growing up in Aotearoa,” Anna says. 

“All of the artworks draw inspiration from the natural environment; from the symbols and patterns found in nature used in the drawings, collages, and carvings, to the cascading waterfall made from hundreds of braided lei/ ‘ei/ ula.” 

Ka Tipu Ka Rea debuted at Studio One Toi Tū in Ponsonby in 2019 and the exhibition featured a different cohort of young artists and completely different types of artworks to the current show, yet the theme has been consistent - a celebration of culture and identity.

Anna says it is truly rewarding putting together the exhibition and seeing the immense pride students feel participating in something so special. 

“The exhibition has provided a platform for our talented young artists to showcase their skills and share their art with the public. 

“All the work in this show has been produced in students’ lunch times and is a testament to the commitment and enthusiasm our students have for the arts.” 

The Teacher adds she hopes to keep Ka Tipu Ka Rea recurring as an annual event at various locations, showcasing the immense talent of local rangatahi.   

Ka Tipu Ka Rea has been an insightful learning experience for the students, and one which has seen them acknowledged by their family and friends for their hard work, and talent.

Of Samoan descent, student Sam Lemafa says he learned about carving while preparing for the exhibition. 

“Sa aoaoina au i le faiga o le 'carving’. Sa ou fiafia e fa'aali la'u taleni. Na ou fiafia ua ou faafiafia i lo'u aiga i le Faaaliga o Ata.”

“I was learning about carving. I was happy to show my talent to people. I was happy to perform in front of my family at the opening.”

Tongan student Gayelene Tatafu says she enjoyed the recognition she received from her family.

“Oku ou sai ia he ngaue moe tamaiki moe sio kihe malimali eku ongo matu'a. 'Oku ou fakakaukau ke hoko atu eku aati 'i he kaha'u - I loved working with other kids and loved seeing my parents smile. I’m thinking to carry on with art in the future.”

Meanwhile Ezekiel Taumoepeau comments in Tongan, about how proud he is of his art.

“Oku ou fiefie hoku aati.”

Ka Tipu Ka Rea is on now at Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery, until July 25.