Work by young artists from Hawke’s Bay to Northland made a diverse showcase for the inaugural Te Kupenga Scholarship exhibition opening at the Maia Gallery last week.
EIT Tairāwhiti’s school of Māori Visual Arts, Toihoukura senior lecturer Erena Koopu said this scholarship allowed the opportunity to showcase the work of rangatahi and give them the opportunity to be in an exhibition.
A highlight of the opening on Thursday evening was the announcement of the recipients of two scholarships of a year of fees. Added to the Year 13 leavers fee–free scheme and the Government one year free of fees, the two recipients had an easier financial road ahead with their chosen study path.
One scholarship went to Te Aroha Parata, 18, from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Horouta Wananga who entered a painting on canvas called Te Whaiao.
Robyn Kahaki–Courtier from Te Kura o Te Whanau a Apanui was another scholarship recipient. She entered a painting on board, described as “My world”.
At the exhibition opening, Erena said 12 artists entered which was the perfect number for the first Te Kupenga exhibition.
Rangatahi entered were mostly from Tairawhiti but there were entries from Hawke’s Bay to Northland, she said.
“So we had a good range in area and there is a good range of mediums in the entries.”
Gisborne Girls High School art teacher Justine Ward said she was proud of her students who had given it a go.
“It is a life opportunity. It is wonderful for them to have the chance to exhibit their work. They have learned a lot.”
Te Aroha was surprised then overjoyed when named as a recipient.
She said the scholarship was something to help her realise her dreams.
“I have always been inspired to do art. It is really the only subject I really focus on.”
Her art in the exhibition is looking forward.
“It portrays how the young generation are the new faces and protectors of the land and sea.”
The piece took her five full days.
“I was totally focussed. I wanted to give it a good go so I can carry on doing what I want the most.”
Robyn was unable to attend the opening. Her art is accompanied by a full description.
Forged from acrylics, pit pens, lace and charcoal, Robyn says her piece is inspired by a Greek myth merged with Maoritanga.
The exhibition will close Wednesday September 23.