Kirikiriroa: a smooth belly

Artist: Dr Brett Graham
Material: Island Kauri

A contemporary sculpture that evokes the mana (greatness) of the mighty Waikato region.

Kingi Tawhiao described the area of Kirikiriroa as a "smooth belly," in reference to the fertile soil of the area and the abundance of kai grown here.

Expertly crafted and intricately carved from Island Kauri with Whakarei (Maaori wood design) the pattern creates an energy pulse that radiates from its centre.   This references the connections between Papatuaanuku (Earth Mother) and Ranginui (Sky Father).  

Created specifically for the Hamilton Airport terminal, this work refers to the topographical, plotting points of the area.

Artist: Dr Brett Graham

Iwi: Ngaati Korokii Kahukura

Brett Graham is a sculptor who creates large scale artworks and installations that explore indigenous histories, politics and philosophies.

He received his Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Hawaii (1992) and his Doctorate in Fine Arts from the University of Auckland (2004).

He has exhibited in the: Venice Biennale (2007) with the work ‘Aaniwaniwa’, a collaboration with Rachael Rakena, which described the loss of Ngaati Korokii Kahukura land and waahi tapu after the building of the Karaapiro Dam; the Sydney Biennale (2006 and 2010) and Sakahan, the first major exhibition of International Indigenous Art at the National Gallery of Canada, in 2013.

His work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Canada, The National Gallery of Victoria, The Honolulu Museum of Art, Te Papatongarewa, and the Auckland City Art Gallery.  In 2014 he was selected as the Creative New Zealand recipient of the New York Residency.


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