Shannon Te Ao

what was or could be today (again)

10 April 2021 - 22 June 2021

Whakawhiti atu ana i te mahi kiriata, te mahi whakaahua me te whakaaturanga, e ruku atu ana a Shannon Te Ao (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Wairangi, Te Pāpaka-a-Māui) ki te rētōtanga, ki te rangiwhāwhātanga o te tū tangata whenua, o te noho taupiri, o te aroha, o te reo, ā, o te pāmamae hoki. ‘Te āhua nō mua, ka pērā anō pea i ēnei rangi tonu nei’, te rirohanga hou nāna ki te kohinga toi o Te Whare Toi Tūmatawhānui o Ōtepoti, ka aro atu ki te kaipara Ngarama Milner-Olsen i a ia e kauhoe ana i te roto nui rawa ki Aotearoa, i Taupō-nui-a-Tia. Ka tohua e te mahi nei tētahi waiata taketake nā Te Ao rāua ko Kurt Komene (Te Ātiawa, Taranaki Whānui), kua waiatatia e Te Āwhina Kaiwai-Wanikau (Ngāti Tūwharetoa).    

 I te whakaahua nā tōna Kuia, kua whakairohia he kōrero ki muri, ‘He waitara o te āhua nō mua, ka pērā anō pea i ēnei rangi tonu nei ki Te Puna Whakaata’ i kitea e Te Ao i te ōrokotīmatanga ki tāna nei mahi, ‘Te āhua nō mua, ka pērā anō pea i ēnei rangi tonu nei’. I whakakiriatahia te mahi o Te Ao i Tūrangi, kei te uru-mā-tonga i Taupō, tata nei ki te wāhi i peitahia ai e tana Kuia. I te mahi ‘Te āhua nō mua, ka pērā anō pea i ēnei rangi tonu nei’, ko te mahi a te kaikauhoe ka whakatāruatia, ka whakapaparia anōtia tētahi āhuatanga kua wheakoria e te tini o ngā tirohanga. Hei hoa ki tēnei, ka whakaatu a Te Ao i tētahi whakaahua ki te pātū - he mata anō o te waiata kua tohua ki, ‘Te āhua nō mua, ka pērā anō pea i ēnei rangi tonu nei’. Hei tirohanga anō, hei mata anō o te kiriata kua whakaahuatia te pūoro ki tētahi tirohanga rerekē o te mahi.

Working across video, photography and performance, Shannon Te Ao (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Wairangi, Te Pāpaka-a-Māui) uses his work to explore the subtleties and complexities of indigeneity, intimacy, love, language and loss. what was or could be today (again), the most recent acquisition into the collection of Dunedin Public Art Gallery, focuses on endurance athlete Ngarama Milner-Olsen as she swims across Aotearoa’s largest body of water, Taupō-nui-a-Tia. The work features an original song written by Te Ao and Kurt Komene (Te Ātiawa, Taranaki Whānui), performed by Te Āwhina Kaiwai-Wanikau (Ngāti Tūwharetoa).             

Te Ao finds a starting point for what was or could be today (again) in a painting by his Grandmother, featuring an inscription on the reverse that reads ‘An abstract of what was or could be today at Te Puna Whakaata’. Te Ao’s work is filmed near the township of Tūrangi, south-west of Taupō, which is located nearby to the site from where his Grandmother’s painting was made. In what was or could be today (again), the action of the swimmer creates a sense of repetition and layering – of place experienced through multiple perspectives. Alongside this, Te Ao presents a new wall-painting – a rendition of the waiata that features in what was or could be today (again).  Echoing his video, this too offers an alternative view; translating sound into a visual form.

« Back to present exhibitions