Fun and friction played in Mother-Daughter portraiture

May 13 2021 – May 14 2021

Claudia Kogachi, There's No I In Team, 2021, The Dowse. Photo by Mark Tantrum.

From surfing to tennis to golf, sports become a playful metaphor for exploring the challenging emotional terrain of the mother-daughter relationship in There’s No I In Team, a series of new portraits by Claudia Kogachi opening at The Dowse Art Museum on 29 May 2021.

There’s No I In Team by Kogachi will feature a series of new large-scale paintings on panel that imagine the artist and her mother playing a range of sports together. “These paintings certainly don’t resemble the blissful, airbrushed family portraits that come in store-bought picture frames,” says curator of the exhibition, Dr Chelsea Nichols. “The wonky blue figures are deliciously awkward yet totally compelling in the way they wobble through the world of competitive sports at each other’s side. Relatable and very funny, the paintings are an insightful psychological portrait of the mother-daughter relationship—warts and all.”

Kogachi’s earlier works depicted the pair in fierce competition in various sporting events set in domestic spaces conflict, but her new works show a friendlier flavour to their relationship. Brightly coloured and cartoon-like, Kogachi’s delightful approach to portraiture invites the visitor to explore the complex and tender dynamics of family conflict. “Playing and watching sports is something that brings many families together—bringing out both the best and worst in our codes of conduct. Choosing sports that are particularly popular in her mother’s birthplace of Hawai’i, Kogachi’s work also speaks to the way our upbringing, values, culture and identity shape our family experiences,” continues Dr Nichols.

Featured alongside the paintings will be a hand-painted wall mural by Kogachi, which spectators will be invited to colour in or watch from ball-shaped furniture—turning art itself into a team sport. “I’m very excited about Kogachi’s approach to method of portraiture, inviting the audience to be involved in her art processes as a way of delving into the colourful, messy emotional world of emotions between ourselves andwith the humans we love.”

There’s no I in Team is also part of the Face to Face: Portrait Festival, which brings together nine dealer galleries and five public galleries in a unique collaboration to showcase work by some of Aoetearoa’s portrait artists. Taking place between 27-30 May in Wellington, the festival aims to demystify and increase access to contemporary art. Participating galleries are Adam Art Gallery, AVID Gallery, Bartley & Company Art, Bowen Galleries, City Gallery Wellington, The Dowse Art Museum, Hamish McKay Gallery, Jhana Millers Gallery, McLeavey Gallery, New Zealand Portrait Gallery, Page Galleries, {Suite}, Solander Gallery, Te Papa Tongarewa and Toi Māori Aotearoa.

There’s No I In Team opens on 29 May 2021.