Te Au by Simon Kaan, Wi Taepa

Te Au

Simon Kaan, Wi Taepa

04 July to 30 July 2023

‘The element of whakapapa and friendship is present in the coming together of [Kaan and Taepa’s] artworks’ [1]
Sanderson are pleased to present the exhibition Te Au by Simon Kaan (Waitaha, Kāti Māmoe, KāiTahu) and Wi Taepa (Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Te Āti Awa) ONZM.
The exhibition will span across both gallery spaces and will feature a range of the artists’ works from the past to the present day.
This will include a new suite of works on paper by Kaan, as well as a selection of paintings and two surf board installations. The exhibition will also feature a group of ceramic works, both old and recently made, by Kaan and Taepa.
This is the third exhibition that Kaan and Taepa have presented together. Kaan discusses:

‘Having a community is a motivating factor to working with Wi in this way – it is the coming together of minds and creative worlds.’ [2]
Kaan and Taepa met at a tangi of a shared uncle years before they started working together. Since that time they have built a strong long lasting friendship and creative partnership.
Manager of Public Programmes at Objectspace Olivia Stewart (Ngāti Manu, mahurehure, Ngāti Hine) notes:
‘This whānau connection strengthens their artistic one, and it is evident in the harmony between their works.’ [3]
The Ngāi Tahu translation of Te Au is mist, referring to a cloud of water droplets suspended in the atmosphere, over the water or near the earth's surface. Taepa states the creation narrative of Te Ao Mārama plays ‘a consistent role in his practice, worldview and relationship with Kaan’. [4] Equally Kaan’s relationship with the whenua and wai (water) plays a crucial role in his practice and in his connection with Taepa.
Where Taepa moulds his works from clay, from the whenua, and plays with te ao marama ‘the world of light’ [5] Kaan mixes wai and ink, and delicately constructs seascapes with the marama (the moon) and waka always present.
Stewart states:

‘Taepa and Kaan’s mahi draw on the stories that have been passed down from koro to moko for centuries all the way from Te Kore.’ [6]
The artists present us with a deep understanding of and spiritual connection to the whenua, to wai and to the cycles of life.  

[1] McDonald (Ngāti Mutunga, Te Āti Awa), M. (2022). Maumahara Exhibition Text, Sanderson Contemporary.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Steward (Ngāti Manu, mahurehure, Ngāti Hine), O. (2023). Review of the exhibition Maumahara at Sanderson Contemporary, Ceramics New Zealand, Issue 6(Vol 1).
[4] Ibid.
[5] Borell (Pirirakau, Ngai Te Rangi, Ngati Ranginui, Te Whakatohea) MNZM, N. ‘Haere ki wiwi¯ ki wawa¯: The Freedom to Explore’, in Wi Taepa Retrospective (Auckland: Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Ta¯maki; Porirua: Pa¯taka Art + Museum, 2018), 13.
[6] Steward, Issue 6 (Vol 1)

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