Shannon Te Ao: With the sun aglow, I have my pensive moods (4 stars)

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Shannon Te Ao’s powerfully affecting video installations, sound works and live performances often find their starting point in existing literary material (particularly Māori lyrical sources found in whakataukī (Māori proverb) and waiata (Māori song)), which the artist uses as devices to explore various social and political contexts. His works also depict a fraught attempt to connect with places, people, plants and even animals. Te Ao's protagonists long for the clarity and optimistic aspirations like those found in Geddes’ philosophy of Work-Folk-Place but instead find uncertainty and complications. His new multimedia installation, co-commissioned with Te Tuhi, Auckland, explores the physical and emotional depths of love, grief, sickness and healing.  Centred around video footage shot in different locations throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, the work explores a poetic assemblage of tenuously related content including a 1840s waiata, a dance scene that references a 1970s Charles Burnett film, a hemp farm, and a 1960s Clyde Otis song famously sung by Dinah Washington. By drawing together these various threads, Te Ao creates an entangled perspective of the human condition — a perspective that reaches out to connect estranged contexts in order to explore the potential for (our own) empathetic reach across distant histories. Commissioned by Edinburgh Art Festival and Te Tuhi, Aotearoa New Zealand. Supported by the Scottish Government Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund, EventScotland and City of Edinburgh Council, with additional support from British Council Scotland, Creative New Zealand, and Massey University.

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Reviews & features

Shannon Te Ao: With the sun aglow, I have my pensive moods

10 Aug 20174 stars

Mournful installation set inside former Magdalene asylum

The title of Shannon Te Ao's new twin video installation may resemble that of a Godspeed You! Black Emperor album, but the landscape here is the artist's native Aotearoa in New Zealand. The tone is similarly mournful, in a starkly poetic study of what…

New Zealand artists at the Edinburgh Festivals 2017

20 Jul 2017

Best of the land of the long white cloud in Edinburgh this August

This August, artists and companies from all over New Zealand will make Edinburgh their home for the month, as Creative New Zealand once again partners with various Edinburgh festivals to bring you some of the most exciting performers the country has to…

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