Eclectic range of artwork features at Mahara


Mahara Gallery launched its latest exhibition earlier this month with the opening of three new shows: ‘Requiem,’ John Foster, ‘Kotahitanga,’ Adrienne Spratt, and ‘Tararua Landscapes,’ Peter Healy.


John Foster, Overworld Journey, detail
John Foster, Overworld Journey, detail

‘Requiem’ includes two murals by north Auckland printmaker, painter and farmer, John Foster. Although featuring in more than 50 exhibitions before his untimely death in 2003, he remained on the fringes of the art world and relatively unknown. His work was brought to the attention of the gallery by his Paekakaraki-based daughter, Kath Foster.

It is the first showing of ‘A requiem for the victims of war’ (1992-1993), a moving statement against the horrors of war. The mural reworks artworks by Picasso, Goya, Francis Bacon and Salvador Dali inside a collaged layer of photographs from television and print media recording the two World Wars as well as the Korean, Vietnam and Gulf War.

“I believe John saw the world through different eyes, and felt a great urgency to communicate what he saw, everywhere he looked,” said Ms Foster. “A mural would be composed of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of these moments, often arranged with a narrative thread like the storyboard for a film.”

‘Overworld Journey, The world viewed from 10,000 metres’ (1997–1998) “marks a return to a first-hand seeing of the world, but with a refined sensitivity and precision.”

Gallery director, Janet Bayly said the exhibition also includes works by Sir Tosswill Woollaston, whom John Foster studied with at Elam Summer Schools.

‘Speaking Truth to Power: free forums

‘Complementing ‘Requiem’ is a series of free forums at the gallery.

  • Saturday 7 March, 1–2.00pm, ecologist and academic, Dr Mike Joy, author Mandy Hager, Regional Councillor, Nigel Wilson and writer, Tina Makereti, and
  • Saturday 14 March, 1–2.00pm, artist and academic, Huhana Smith, Generation Zero Jimmy Green, Academic and activist, Marian Evans and Investigative Journalist, Nicky Hager.
AtAkura, 2015, Adrienne Spratt
AtAkura, 2015, Adrienne Spratt


Showing in the New SPACE gallery is new weaving by Adrienne Spratt in ‘Kotahitanga.’ Here the exhibition explores the amalgamation of customary techniques and practises of raranga (plaiting), whiri (braiding) and whatu (weaving) whilst maintaining tikanga and cultural integrity in a new form. The artworks contribute to the completion of a Master of Maori visual art degree with Massey University Te Putahi a Toi.

“Kotahitanga is about unity — it is based on the whakatauki (proverb) by Potatau Te Wherowhero, the first Maori King, who at the birth of the Kingitanga movement, spoke about how individual threads are weak, but the processes of weaving three threads together makes for not only a strong fabric but they become beautiful, and tell a story,” said Ms Spratt.

 Wilderness experience

Te Awaawa o Warohine, Peter Healy
Te Awaawa o Warohine, Peter Healy

Peter Healy is an Otaki-based artist who treasures the solitude, silence and grandeur of the Tararua Ranges, “I see how everything belongs in the mountains. This wilderness experience is invigorating and a valued element in my creative work.”

Summer Classics

‘Summer Classics,’ the popular exhibition featuring two little-known Frances Hodgkins paintings loaned by Avenal McKinnon continues, and is joined by local favourite ‘The Goose Girl’ from the Field Collection. The exhibition also includes paintings by Petrus van der Velden, D.K. Richmond and Girolamo P.Nerli.

All four exhibitions run to 22 March 2015.

By Vivienne Bailey