Objectspace is delighted to present Nimamea'a: The fine arts of Tongan embroidery and crochet - our first major project focused on making from the Pacific. Objectspace aims to provoke new assessments about the making and functioning of works and practices within the fields of craft and design across a number of the making traditions present in Aotearoa New Zealand today.
Objectspace approached curators Kolokesa Uafa Mahina-Tuai and Manuesina 'Ofa-ki-Hautolo Mahina in 2010 about developing a project for Objectspace after seeing their Fresh Gallery Otara exhibition Tongan Style.
Nimamea'a: The fine arts of Tongan embroidery and crochet features a selection of crocheted Ta'ovala (waist mats), Kiekie (waist ornaments), and hand embroidered bed linen and clothing made in the Tefisi tradition, all from Tongan family collections.
The works in Nimamea'a: The fine arts of Tongan embroidery and crochet can be recognised as objects of beauty and skilled making. These embroidered and crocheted works have a completely different, and high, status within the fine arts of Tonga compared with the status of embroidery and crochet within the contemporary arts of New Zealand. While these works might look familiar in one sense, as objects they operate in quite a different way, within Tongan culture, to the way embroidery and crochet generally operate within mainstream New Zealand culture, which the curators describe in their writing in the accompanying publication.
The makers of the works featured in Nimamea'a: The fine arts of Tongan embroidery and crochet are; Kolokesa Kulikefu, Tu'utanga Hunuhunu Mahina, Manuesina Tonata, Lingisiva 'Aloua, Noma 'Ofa-ki-Nu'usila Talakia'atu, Falesiu Siu and Lupe Mahe.
Curators Kolokesa Uafa Mahina-Tuai and Manuesina 'Ofa-ki-Hautolo Mahina state, "We wanted to do a show on the fine arts of Tongan embroidery and crochet simply because of the lack of awareness and visibility that these two art forms have outside of a Tongan context. We hope that this exhibition will give people an aesthetic appreciation of these two art forms and an insight into their significance from a Tongan cultural context."
Public Programme: Join exhibition curators Kolokesa Uafa Mahina-Tuai and Manuesina 'Ofa-ki-Hautolo Mahina for a floor talk, Saturday 3 December, 11am.
A publication for this exhibition is available to view or download here.