Fresh out of the Box is an exhibition currently showing in the hybrid Puke Ariki centre, located in Taranaki, NZ. Puke Ariki is a combined visitor centre, library, art gallery and workshop space that fosters engagement with knowledge past, present and future. A wonderful building located in the heart of provincial NZ it is a standout for small city innovation and worth a visit.
In this particular exhibition (curated by Bill Milbank) 80 objects from the heritage collection were picked out by researcher Ron Lambert to illustrate what it is like to be a Taranakian. The works included rugs, books, barbed wire fences, school uniforms and other cultural artefacts. 15 artists then were invited to reinterpret (and subvert) these items - using them as inspiration for a series of multimedia and traditional pieces. I particularly liked:
Ngahina Hohaia's mixed media installation that projected images of local Maori in and out of a giant circle of intricately hand embroidered poi(left).
Nicole Freeman's surreal painting of a child based on a collection of photographs from the centre's Swainson Collection (top),
and Paul Hartigan's beautiful neon mini-installations inspired by a rag rug carpet (below).