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Monica Brewster Evening: Johnson Witehira

Monica Brewster Evening: Johnson Witehira

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Tuesday 14th May 2024 | 6PM

Monica Brewster Evenings is a monthly event series with thinkers, makers, enablers and practitioners from across the creative sector.

Join us for our May Monica Brewster Evening with Dr. Johnson Witehira, a distinguished Māori artist, designer, and researcher, who will share insights into his multifaceted art and design practice. In this talk, Johnson will demonstrate through three key examples, Māoriland Aventure, The Matarongo Project, and the PAKU Pū Rākau, how mātauranga Māori and pū rākau can be brought to life using modern new technology.

With Māoriland Aventure (2016), we'll see how audiences are invited to take up the controls of an interactive artwork where they direct a Māori or British character through the newly-discovered land of Aotearoa. These thought-provoking and somewhat controversial pieces use satire and game technology to disarm and invite people to consider the intricate intersections of culture, power, and environment. With the Matarongo Typeface Project, we'll see how Johnson has been developing a new Māori font that draws on the rich history of Māori carved, painted, woven and tattooed letters. Then, finally, with the Pū Rākau Project, we'll see how Johnson has recently used augmented reality to bring Māori stories to life in stunning new ways.

Dr. Johnson Witehira is recognized as an expert on contemporary Māori art and design. His art and design practice focuses on how customary Māori knowledge and ways of thinking can be applied in contemporary settings. His writings on Māori design have been published in world-leading design journals and books including; Visible Language (University of Cincinnati), The Graphic Design Reader (Bloomsbury), Novum (Munich) and Monocle (London). Witehira's artworks have been shown in many of New Zealand's leading galleries including ObjectSpace, The Wellington City Gallery, The Physics Room and The Dowse. Witehira has also worked extensively with curators across Canada and Australia, with his works featuring in Nuit Blanche (Toronto), The Banff Centre for Arts and most recently at ACMI (Melbourne).

Monica Brewster Evenings are produced in partnership with Govett Quilliam - The Lawyers, with further event support from Michael Radich Wine Merchants, Theory Food, and Shining Peak brewing.

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