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Artist Floor Talk: Dr Steve Gibbs

Steve Gibbs waveski1 marketing

Dr Steve Gibbs water skiing

Sunday 23 January 2022, 11am - 12pm | Free, no booking required.


Covid-19 Protection Framework: This event requires all visitors to the gallery (between 12pm - 1pm) to bring their Ministry of Health-issued My Vaccine Pass to be scanned before they can enter. 


Join Dr Steve Gibbs to hear about his practice, PhD research and artwork in The Path exhibition. 

Steve Gibbs (Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, Ngati Rangiwaho, Rongowhakaata, Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Kahungunu) was born in Gisborne and has been a practicing artist and art educator since graduating from Ilam School of Fine Arts in 1978. He has worked as the Associate Professor at Toihoukura, School of Contemporary Māori Visual Arts since 1994.

For much of his professional teaching career he has been committed to the ongoing development of the Māori visual arts, and the importance this has in a contemporary indigenous context within the wider contemporary arts scene locally, nationally and internationally.

Steve Gibbs is an exhibiting artist in The Path, an exhibition that brings together visual artists, writers and documentary producers who all share a passion for surfing. Steve says “My relationship to the sea is reflected in much of what I do and who I am. My creative work is in response to my genealogical connections to Tūranganui-a-kiwa. Everything I do ties me to my Mana Whenua and Mana Moana (the land and the ocean). Tairāwhiti is the first place that greets the sun as it climbs out of the South Pacific Ocean. My creative process is inseparable from this natural phenomena.”

As part of this floor talk, Steve Gibbs will be speaking about his PhD research, which focused on a series of painted and carved waka hoe. He created a series of paintings, drawings and research related to these hoe, which were located throughout Europe despite having their origins in Turanganui. The waka hoe are decorated with design systems that are the oldest extant examples of customary kowhaiwhai (customary Māori pattern painting).

They are the main form of pattern painting seen in most meeting houses built throughout Aotearoa since the early 1800s to present day, Gibbs says. This body of work is dedicated to his whānau and kaumatua of Muriwai who created and supported the opportunity to engage in the process of locating and negotiating the return of several taonga tuku iho (treasures handed down by ancestors) from international museum collections and brought them back to Turanganui in 2019.

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