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Toi Koru: Sandy Adsett at Te Whare Taonga o Waikato

Esteemed Māori artist, and a master of kōwhaiwhai, Sandy Adsett, is currently showcasing 60 pieces of his mahi toi, spanning his 6 decade career.

The exhibition, Toi Koru: Sandy Adsett, opened at Waikato Museum | Te Whare Taonga o Waikato on 29 September and displays loaned pieces from galleries and museums around the motu, as well as many from Sandy’s own collection.

The exhibition opening was attended by a number of kaimahi from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, where Sandy once taught and mentored countless tauira.

Sandy has a long and significant history with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. He was part of the team that created Toimairangi School of Māori Visual Art in 2002, and he is seen as the founder of rauangi at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

Despite being a long-established artist, with a career of more than 60 years, this is only Sandy’s third solo exhibition. A humble man, he’s preferred to avoid the spotlight, but has always firmly believed in the importance of toi Māori.

Now retired from teaching Maunga Kura Toi - Bachelor of Māori Arts (Rauangi), Sandy’s journey in the toi Māori space began at a time when he says, no one was doing mahi toi.

He was always drawn to colour, and wanting to colour in as a child, but ultimately he wanted to use his skills to bring light and awareness to toi Māori.

Liz Cotton, Director Museum and Arts at Waikato Museum, is thrilled to have an exhibition of such high calibre at their whare taonga and acknowledges the work of her team to bring Toi Koru to their gallery space and create such a beautiful exhibition for the Museum’s visitors.

Toi Koru exhibition first opened in Porirua in 2021 and was curated by Reuben Friend, a former tauira of Sandy, and former director at Te Pātaka Art + Museum.

Toi Koru is on display at Waikato Museum | Te Whare Taonga o Waikato now until 10 March 2024. Entry is free.

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Published On: 09 October 2023

Article By: Gemma Bradly-Jacka

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