Two Major Multi-Media Water Shows in Masterton

The public can experience two major multi-media exhibitions at Aratoi addressing the current water crises in Aotearoa New Zealand: WAI – Manga Maha, Awa Kotahi | One River, Many Streams and WATER\WAY Thirteen New Zealand Artists Explore the Rivers and Lakes of Aotearoa. The two shows will fill the entire museum. 

The large-scale environmental exhibition WAI - Manga Maha, Awa Kotahi l One River, Many Streams seeks to reconnect the Wairarapa community with its waterways and wetlands and advocates for the rivers of our region through art: 80 hand-sculpted ceramic eels swim along a 5m-long stream in the gallery and then negotiate a wall; hundreds of botanical specimens and items found along waterways form a moving installation; a meditative video of a river; a soundscape that includes recordings from Antarctica and Kahungunu philosophy; eight large-scale photograms of South Island glaciers; and a design inspired by manhole covers. 

Do you know the names of Masterton’s rivers and streams? Do you know the location of Masterton’s first foundry making manhole covers for the Council? Do you know when the region’s first water treatment facility was built? WAI also presents this historical information, including maps of waterways (under- and above-ground); notes on water treatment, including the 1901 plant built at Nursery Road; and background to J.C. Ewington, the foundry once at the corner of King and Queen streets, Masterton, a block away from what is now Aratoi. 

The multi-media exhibition WAI opens at Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History, 12 Bruce Street, Masterton, on Friday 29th March at 5.30 pm (all welcome). Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson will officiate. Aratoi also hosts a free public talk by WAI artists on 30th March at 11am. The exhibition continues until 26th May.

The second multi-media show, WATER\WAY -Thirteen NZ Artists explore the rivers and lakes of Aotearoa, curated by Bruce Foster and Gregory O’Brien, considers the cultural, conceptual and imaginative qualities of our natural water resources and their crucial role in the well-being of our communities.  (Dates: 13th April to 4th August) 

Aratoi invites the public to two free events on 26th May – with O’Brien, Foster and several WATER\WAY artists from 10.30am; and the Arts + Climate Innovation Roadshow, 2-4pm, with Prof James Renwick, Dr Mike Joy, Sam Ludden, Rawiri Smith, Jade Waetford and Gareth Winter, by Track Zero with Aratoi, free tickets: Eventbrite.

Masterton-based artist Sam Ludden, who spearheaded the WAI exhibition, says “WAI is inspired by the love of rivers and the creatures that live in them, and by the people and the politics of and around our waterways.”

“Water is a crucial issue of our times,” says Aratoi Director Susanna Shadbolt, “and Aratoi salutes these local and international artists who are working to address the challenges creatively. Alongside WAI and WATER\WAY, Aratoi offers a free education programme during Term II, and a School Holiday Programme (16-18 April).” 

WAI artists and participants: Sam Ludden, Siv B. Fjaerestad, Denise Batchelor, Jonathan Kay, Anna-Marie Kingsley, and Cody Field, with support from: Gareth Winter, Rawiri Smith, Joe Potangaroa, Amber McEwan, Tony Garstang, Kirsten Browne, and Warren Maxwell; and sponsored by: Creative New Zealand, Riverscapes, Masterton Arts Fund, Trust House, and the 147 donors through Boosted. 

WATER\WAY artists: Jacqui Colley, Phil Dadson, Bing Dawe, Bruce Foster, Brett Graham, Ross Hemera, Euan Macleod, Gregory O’Brien, Jenna Packer, Dani Terrizzi, Elizabeth Thomson, Peter Trevelyan and Kate Woods.