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Photography focus in Te Papa’s new art season

The largest photography exhibition Te Papa has ever held will open tomorrow, as part of the new season of Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa.  

Showcasing around 300 rare and fascinating photographs from Te Papa’s extensive collection, New Zealand Photography Collected delves into New Zealand’s photographic heritage from the 1850s through to today. 

Ranging from the iconic, to the popular and personal, the exhibition includes works by influential photographers such as Brian Brake, Anne Noble, and Gavin Hipkins, and coincides with the launch of a new Te Papa Press book, New Zealand Photography Collected, by Te Papa Photography Curator Athol McCredie. 

“These photographs have been chosen for their depth, richness and resonance. In a world saturated with images, we are used to the quick flick – but these reward repeated viewings,” says Mr McCredie. 

"Their power is lasting because they sustain multiple meanings and interpretations – which is exactly why they are in a museum collection.” 

Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa is a changing programme of exhibitions showcasing the national art collection, more often, and in rich and innovative ways. 

Alongside the major showcase of photography, an exhibition of contemporary art, Open Home, explores ideas of home and identity. 

“This season of Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa reveals yet another fascinating layer of the national art collection,” says Te Papa Senior Art Curator Sarah Farrar. 

“Te Papa’s broad and diverse arts collections enable us to offer a range of art experiences. There’s always something new for visitors to engage with, along with treasured favourites from the collection.” 

The new season will also showcase a selection of impressive large-scale landscape prints by 19th-century American photographer, Carleton Watkins.  

An important new addition to Te Papa’s art collection will also be on display for the first time. William Strutt’s View of Mt Egmont, Taranaki, New Zealand, taken from New Plymouth, with Maoris driving off settlers’ cattle is a rare 1861 oil painting that reflects the conflict between Māori and colonists in Taranaki during the New Zealand Wars. 

“Art is an extremely important part of the Te Papa experience, and it’s wonderful to bring the national collection to as many people as we can through vibrant new seasons of Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa like this,” says Te Papa Chief Executive Rick Ellis. 

“This is a wonderful opportunity for visitors to be able to immerse themselves in more of the national art collection, with many of the works helping tell important stories from our shared history.”  

With four brand new exhibitions, and five refreshed galleries, the new season of Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa is free to visit, and opens on 6 November. 

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Updated on 30th November 2015