Johnson Witehira Tane Lives
Inspired by the narrative of how Rangi and Papatuanuku were pushed apart, and Hone Tuwhare’s poem ‘We who live in darkness’, this work features images of the Maori god Tanemahuta projected onto trees.
Tane pushed his parents apart – and out of nothing came Te Ao Marama – the world of light.
About the Artist
Johnson Witehira is an artist and designer of Tamahaki (Ngāti Hinekura), Ngāti Hauā, Ngā Puhi (Ngai-tū-te-auru) and New Zealand European descent. He recently completed his Doctorate through Massey Universities School of Māori Studies, which explored how customary Māori carving can provide a cultural and aesthetic
platform for contemporary Māori design.
Johnson’s work has a strong aesthetic that comes from combining traditional Māori form and pattern with ideas from graphic design and Western arts practice.
His latest solo exhibition of digitally produced works, The Land of Tara, explored the whakapapa of Wellington through digital representations of important Māori ancestors. These works are currently on display in 16 light boxes along Courtenay Place in Wellington. Johnson's work was also displayed in Times
Square in the first ever syncronised display of digital content. During this digital exhibition his designs were shown simultaneously on 34 billboards across a period of three days.
This year Johnson has been invited to create a new major work for LUX, Wellington’s festival of light. I also have a series of 16 light box artworks currently installed on Courtenay Place in Wellington.