“Māori pendants, known as nga taonga (treasures), are rendered in bone, shell and jade and often carry names and stories pertinent to the family and history of the wearer. Prominent designs incorporate references to the koru (fern frond), a symbol of growth and rebirth; matau (fish hook), a representation of prosperity; tools such as the toki (adze blades), a symbol of the artist; various weapons, and supernatural creatures and guardians steeped in history and mystery, such as the manaia (birdlike guardian figures), taniwha (water spirits) and Hei Tiki (the first man in the Māori world, who descended from the stars). Traditionally given as symbols of respect and esteem, today the pendants are instantly recognizable ambassadors for the Māori.”
Excerpt from Manawa—Pacific Heartbeat
September 9 - September 30, 2017
The Spirit Wrestler Gallery is honoured to be hosting the long-awaited second collaborative exhibition, Pacific Currents - New Collaborations in Glass and Jade, by Seattle-based Tlingit glass artist, Preston Singletary, and leading Māori pounamu jade artist, Lewis Gardiner, from Aotearoa (New Zealand).
In 2007, their first exhibition, Fire & Water - Pacific Visions in Glass & Jade, captured the attention of our audience with its ground-breaking collection of innovative artworks that merged new materials together in shapes, designs and stories found in both cultural art-forms. The originality of these artworks proved that creativity could overcome cultural differences and distances between the artists working on opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean. The success of their first collaboration beckoned for an encore.
The creative beginnings of this second exhibition began many years ago but the artists' busy schedules of other exhibitions, teaching, commissions, cultural and family commitments, delayed its completion.
Over the years despite the challenge of being artists at a distance, their mutual artistic respect and friendship had kept the communication alive. Both artists were still intrigued to pursue this second exhibition and have the opportunity to further explore similar stories that existed between the Northwest Coast and Māori cultures. It is now a decade later and we finally have the much anticipated collection of 20 exciting new artworks.
Preston Singletary has been an ambassador for the glass medium to First Nation cultures internationally, including several trips to New Zealand to introduce glass to Māori artists. Glass is seen as a chameleon material that can imitate other materials including many that are seen as rare and endangered to the world and to the very future of certain artistic traditions. For the last 20 years, Lewis Gardiner has been a leading pounamu jade artist in New Zealand. He has accepted invitations to exhibit his creations in China, as well as in New Zealand and Canada, and still continues to explore monumental jade (pounamu) at a time of scarcity that limits access to a material considered a cultural taonga (treasure). Glass and jade are such compatible mediums as they are both translucent and activated by light.
We believe the ten year wait has been worthwhile as we reveal this inspired second collection, Pacific Currents, that continues to explore and develop on new ideas and forms found in their traditional cultural stories. Both artists have been inspired by the flora and fauna of their natural environment, as well as by the ceremonial objects that are both worn and presented in sacred ceremonial settings. The design forms cleverly blend Māori and Northwest flat design onto traditional sculpted forms.
We invite you to see the exhibition in person and to meet these two important artists who created this amazing collection.
Spirit Wrestler Gallery
101-1669 West 3rd Ave.
Canada V6J 1K1
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one block West of the Granville Island gates
Between Pine St. and Fir St.
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