Whanaungatanga | AN EXHIBITION BY ISAAC TREBILCO

7th April - 22nd April 2017

New Zealand born artist Isaac Trebilco creates paintings and imagery that explore Māori culture and New Zealand identity.

The exhibition is called Whanaungatanga, meaning kinship; a sense of family connection through shared experiences. Trebilco postulates that by embracing and honoring each other’s culture it strengthens the Whanaungatanga we have together. 

This concept is reflected in a series of works that blends Trebilco’s upbringing and multi-cultural community - interweaving indigenous Māori design with contemporary stream-of-consciousness markings. 

The distinctive illustrations combine techniques old and new – blending modern stencil work with traditional mediums like oil and watercolour. Principally the swirling koru pattern, which represents new beginnings, growth and harmony, is used as a central recurring theme. Trebilco recycles historical elements to create an integrated and symbolic present. 

This series is based on two photographes taken by Samuel Carnell between 1870 and 1880. The identity of these two portraits are unknown, and Trebilco uses their imagery to pay tribute to Māori history and culture. As part of the opening a karakia was performed by Ngāti Rānana London Māori Club. This is a traditional prayer and blessing to summon the spirits of these tipuna (ancestors) so that they could be appropriately mourned and then celebrated.

Downstairs Trebilco depicted a traditional Māori myth about the origins of New Zealand with two large UV paint murals.