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Weaver's globally acclaimed work comes to Auckland

Published: 18 October 2019

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Matekino Lawless is bringing her impressive weaving to Auckland's Franklin Arts Centre

Franklin Arts Centre will host Whatu Manawa, an exhibition that celebrates the weaving of New Zealand treasure, Matekino Lawless QSM (Tainui).

This is the Rotoiti-based weaver's first solo exhibition, originally shown at the Tauranga Art Gallery and now at Auckland Council's Franklin Arts Centre. It honours her dedication to the art and tradition of raranga (weaving), with its many decorative and utilitarian uses.

Whatu Manawa features an exquisite selection of Lawless' signature works, chosen from an impressive collection of kākahu (cloaks), whāriki (mats), and kete (baskets) created between the 1980s and today. The detailed pieces are made from native New Zealand plants and treated with natural dyes such as paru (mud rich in iron salts); demonstrating her loyalty to the traditions of her craft.

“I attribute my knowledge of weaving to my kuia who nurtured me during my childhood. They were a major contributing factor to the skills I have acquired, and I owe my approach to the art of weaving to their teachings,” she says.

Lawless started weaving in her late thirties. Now, at 91, she is the mentor and one of the biggest advocates for the legacy of raranga traditions.

She has received international acknowledgement and national recognition through being awarded the Auckland Art Museum Fellowship, the Queens Service Medal (QSM) and the Kingi Ihaka Art Award and Te Waka Toi Supreme Award, Te Tohu Aroha mō Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu from Creative New Zealand. Her work is held in personal collections in Aotearoa, Europe, United Kingdom and the United States.

Pukekohe-based group Whāriki o Te Ao are exhibiting their artwork alongside Whatu Manawa by Matekino Lawless. Two of the group's leading artists, Glennis Robinson and Shirley Te Tai, will be showcasing their kākahu (cloaks) created with contemporary materials.

The two exhibitions open at Franklin Arts Centre on 9 November 2019 and run until 25 January 2020. The Whatu Manawa exhibition is toured by Tauranga Art Gallery and has been made possible thanks to the support of Holland Beckett and the Franklin Local Board.

Franklin Arts Centre is an Auckland Council arts facility in the Franklin Local Board area, showcasing many talented local and New Zealand artists' work and connecting artists with the local community.

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