Fuseworks Media

New Courtenay Place exhibition reflects history of area

The new Courtenay Place light boxes exhibition Swamped by artist Turumeke Harrington addresses the complex history of whenua on the site where it sits.

Swamped is an accessible installation from Te Whanganui-a-Tara based artist Harrington (Kāi Tahu, Rangitāne) and Ōtautahi Christchurch-based curator and educator Chloe Cull, which allows for engagement by children and adults.

Te Aro Pā was one of the largest pā in the Wellington area.

The pā was included in the area covered by the New Zealand Company’s Port Nicholson deed of purchase. Harrington’s tumu (stumps) reference the survey stakes used at Te Aro Pā to mark and divide Māori land, and the removal of these by Māori residents in protest.

The title Swamped references both the original swamplands that provided residents of Te Aro Pā with food and resources, and the overwhelming nature of modern life.

The artworks couple critical reflection with humour, encouraging passers-by to engage in a game of ‘I spy’. Hidden in each tumu is an assortment of native and introduced species.

The eight 3-metre high steel and glass LED light boxes were launched in May 2008, and are located at 77-97 Courtenay Place.

The new Light Box exhibition runs from 23 March to 3 June 2024.

 

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