Hongi, Nathan Homestead Pukepuke, Manurewa, Aotearoa New Zealand (solo)
One Year, Nathan Homestead Pukepuke, Manurewa, Aotearoa New Zealand (solo)
Hongi, Nathan Homestead Pukepuke, Manurewa, Aotearoa New Zealand (solo),
December 12 2020 - December 13 2021
Hongi is an outdoor exhibition featuring new sculptures by Yonel Watene. The exhibition, which will be open from December 12, 2020 until December 13, 2021, will take place amongst a collection of Japanese cedar trees at Nathan Homestead Pukepuke, and will be the artist's second and largest presentation of outdoor sculptures (his first occurring in Mexico City, October 2017). Watene's earliest Hongi sculptures were developed in Dunedin in early 2017, when he came across a group of wooden beams that were cut at a peculiar angle. As these beams were unable to stand upright on their own, he leaned one against another so that each beam supported the other's weight. In that moment he recalled a powerful image of his childhood - his father performing hongi. His late father, being an interpersonal and outgoing person, would often introduce himself to random people on the street. No matter their ethnicity or age, it was his custom to exchange hongi upon introduction. Since many people are unfamiliar with hongi, he would often describe the traditional Māori greeting by instructing them to "rub nose", which would sometimes lead people to rub their own nose, or my father's nose. The artist reflects on these moments by stating "I always cherished these memories of my father because it was a happy and meaningful exchange." Therefore, Hongi is a representation of what the artist understands hongi to be, and in being such it is an opportunity for the public to reflect upon their own understanding of hongi, too.
One Year, Nathan Homestead Pukepuke, Manurewa, Aotearoa New Zealand (solo),
December 12 2020 - March 25 2021
One Year is an exhibition featuring new oil paintings by Yonel Watene. The exhibition will open on December 12, 2020 (a year and a few days after the first recorded symptoms of COVID-19, which is recorded as being December 8 2019 by WHO), and will be open until March 25, 2021 (exactly one year since Aotearoa New Zealand entered its first lockdown under Alert Level 4). In this sense, the exhibition revolves around two important milestones: the beginning of the exhibition marks one year since the world was devastated by COVID-19; and the end of the exhibition marks exactly one year since Aotearoa New Zealand experienced a nigh complete shutdown of its society and economy. The show's opening acknowledges COVID-19's first onslaught against humanity, and its closure acknowledges Aotearoa New Zealand's first nation wide attempt at eradicating it. So far, the world has been devastated by the deadly virus, and our nation's Team of 5 Million, under the leadership of Prime Minister Jacinda Adern, has been internationally applauded for its efforts against COVID-19. Watene's first painting from this series, Sick Wizard #1, was started a few weeks prior to Alert Level 4, and the remaining paintings were completed in-between the first and second Lockdowns. Other paintings in the exhibition, such as Pigs after Polke, pay homage to other events in 2020, such as the Black Lives Matter Movement.