Karaoke kiosk and ‘Pāuaball’ star in new Christchurch Art Gallery exhibition

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Exhibition co-curators Bridget Reweti and Melanie Oliver test out the karaoke booth with videos made by Maori artists.

KAI SCHWOERER/Stuff

Exhibition co-curators Bridget Reweti and Melanie Oliver test out the karaoke booth with videos made by Maori artists.

A karaoke stand and a special mirror ball made from pāua shells will welcome visitors to the Christchurch Art Gallery from Saturday.

The gallery commissioned four Maori artists to create karaoke lyric videos that can be sung in a special booth adorned with a ‘Pāuaball’.

The stand is part of a new exhibition, titled Māori Moving Image ki Te Puna o Waiwhetū, which opens on Saturday. The new exhibition also features contemporary video art created by some of New Zealand’s leading Maori artists.

Exhibition co-curator Melanie Oliver said gallery visitors can sing along to five songs, including Pātea Māori Club’s Poi E and Pixie Williams’ Blue Smoke.

Luther Ashford creates a karaoke lyrics video for the classic Pātea Māori Club song Poi E.

Provided / Stuff

Luther Ashford creates a karaoke lyrics video for the classic Pātea Māori Club song Poi E.

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“It’s really fun because karaoke is, in a sense, auditory history and it relates to the importance of auditory history for Maori,” she said.

“Artists responded with stunning artwork that truly matches the aura of each song.”

She said artist Terri Te Tau captured the spirit of the song Blue Smoke with her lyric video. She used 1940s footage of a hangi being prepared for a Maori battalion returning from World War II. The lyrics are cross-stitch lettering superimposed on the images.

Oliver said the artists created lyric videos that captured the aura of each song.

KAI SCHWOERER/Stuff

Oliver said the artists created lyric videos that captured the aura of each song.

Te Tau also designed the “Pāuaball” for the karaoke booth, which was developed in partnership with the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt.

Oliver said the video art ranged from animation to 16mm film and focused on everything from the tīwakawaka bird to Christian Louboutin shoe designer and puriri trees.

The artists, including Shannon Te Ao, Luther Ashford, Nova Paul, Nathan Pōhio, Louise Pōtiki Bryant, Rachael Rakena and Lisa Reihana, were selected for their natural affinity with video art.

The karaoke booth, featuring 'Pāuaball', is part of a new exhibition of video art by contemporary Maori artists.

KAI SCHWOERER/Stuff

The karaoke booth, featuring ‘Pāuaball’, is part of a new exhibition of video art by contemporary Maori artists.

“These are the people who … think about making motion pictures,” Oliver said.

“Some artists think through drawing or painting, but you can tell in these works that the medium and the message are really intertwined.

“Cinema is a natural form they come to and thrive in.”

The exhibition opens on Saturday and will run until October 16.

Artist Terri Te Tau created a lyric video for Blue Smoke that used 1940s imagery and cross-stitch lettering.

Provided / Stuff

Artist Terri Te Tau created a lyric video for Blue Smoke that used 1940s imagery and cross-stitch lettering.

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