Extended Whānau 39 Angus Muir Design 9 Toi Tū Toi Ora Activation

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Directors
    Tyrone Ohia, Angus Muir
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Rob Lewis, Maree Sheehan, Rob Jones, Josquin Craft, Jack Hawke
  • Client
    Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art is a landmark survey exhibition at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. It celebrates the dynamic, ever-changing expression of contemporary Māori art and is the largest show in the gallery’s history, featuring over 300 artworks from 111 artists.

Alongside the identity design for the exhibition, we were tasked with creating a physical experience for Toi Tū Toi Ora that could travel throughout the Tāmaki Makaurau region to raise awareness for the exhibition and bring a more diverse audience to the show.

In line with the branding, our approach was to reflect the unique Māori curatorial framework of the show.

The shows curatorial framework is based on the Māori creation narrative. Rather than using conventional Western chronology to organise the works, Māori celestial origins become the organising idea.

We created a cube that houses a multi-sensory light and audio experience taking people through the Māori creation narrative.

The exterior carries the exhibitions identity with large abstract crops of gloss black lettering against a matte black wall finish.

Inside, a soundscape and voiceover recites the many stages of Te Kore (the great nothingness), Te Pō (the perpetual night), and Te Ao (the world of light).

The voiceover is bilingual and the chants echo throughout the 2x2.5 metre interior.

To accompany the audio, the typographic pattern created for the identity lights up behind one way mirrored walls, highlighting the different stages of the creation narrative in time with the audio.

The light show within is multi-coloured. Throughout the one and a half minute experience, colours shift in tone and energy based on the characteristics of Te Kore, Te Pō and Te Ao.

To further emphasize these celestial origins, all interior walls are mirrored to immerse the viewer in an ever-expanding world of interwoven text and light.

The experience was rolled out across festivals and events throughout Central, South and West Auckland and was accompanied by gallery staff who spoke to the exhibition and had exhibition collateral to hand out to the community.