Homecoming for Shane Cotton

Jul 6 2021

Shane Cotton, *Morning Star*, 2021. Courtesy of the artist

Leading contemporary artist Shane Cotton (Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Hine, Te Uri Taniwha) will open a major exhibition of new works at The Dowse Art Museum – his first public show in Te Awakairangi Hutt Valley, the place he grew up.

Opening 17 July, Te Puāwai introduces a new body of never-before-displayed work by the influential artist, and will be a must-see exhibition.

The Kororāreka Russell-based artist is creating more than 15 new works for the exhibition, which will sit alongside several existing works, most of which have never been seen before.
Spanning painting, works on paper and sculptural works, including a series of pou, it will incorporate new and familiar imagery from Cotton’s practice.

Cotton grew up in Upper Hutt in the 60s and 70s, and with extensive whānau still living here, this exhibition holds a special connection for him.

Karl Chitham, Director of The Dowse, says Cotton’s work will “allow visitors to create their own responses or impressions of the works and what they might represent.”

“The stories in Te Pūawai are not fixed,” says Chitham. “Like those threads of memory that are hard to grab hold of, Cotton’s works offer a series of moments that are uncertain and shifting. But these moments can also be filled with limitless potential, leading to new ideas and ways of thinking.”

“This is Shane’s first solo public exhibition since 2013, and we’re excited to host it here at The Dowse, and so close to where he spent his formative years.”

Alongside new works, the heart of the exhibition features a hand-crafted boat, the namesake of the exhibition Te Puāwai, recently shown in Auckland Art Gallery exhibition Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art.

Shane Cotton is an internationally renowned artist with a distinguished career spanning three decades. He has exhibited around the world, and was granted the New Zealand Order of Merit for Services to the Visual Arts in 2012, the Laureate Award from the Arts Foundation of New Zealand (2008), the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship (1998) and the Seppelt Contemporary Art Award (1998).

Shane Cotton – Te Puāwai is on display from 17 July – 14 November, as part of The Dowse Art Museum’s 50th Anniversary programme. It continues the museum’s commitment to highlighting contemporary toi Māori.