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Ki Mua, Ki Muri: 25 Years of Toioho ki Āpiti, edited by Cassandra Barnett and Kura Te Waru-Rewiri

The last 25 years of the influential Toioho ki Āpiti programme at Massey University, is examined in this richly illustrated, lush book.

Through a series of intimate conversations with staff and graduates, Ki Mua, Ki Muri describes the unique environment that has helped form some of New Zealand's most exciting, powerful and influential figures in contemporary art.

Staff and graduates of the programme - who include the likes of Bob Jahnke, Shane Cotton, Brett Graham, Rachael Rakena, Kura Te Waru-Rewiri, Israel Birch and Ngatai Taepa - describe the unique environment that has helped form them. Professor Ngāhuia Te Awekōtuku and Nigel Borell write the forewords, and there's an extensive glossary, index and list of graduates also included.

The intimate artist conversations shine a light on the kaupapa Māori-led programme and its huge impact in helping shape the art world. Toioho ki Āpiti's model is structured around Māori concepts of mana whakapapa (inheritance rights), mana Tiriti (treaty rights), mana whenua (land rights) and mana tangata (human rights). 

It's a fascinating read, documenting the journeys of each artists and the importance of the programme and what can happen if you take mātauranga Māori and combine it with visual art practice. 

The book is divided by artist, with each offering their own unique thoughts and experiences. Full colour illustrations of the artist's work is also included, and it's interesting how the reader's interpretation of the work can change after reading the artist's musings. There's some deep questions posed within the statements too -  with artist's not shying away from critiquing the course and how it could be made better, or how the wider art world can reflect kaupapa Māori more. 

Ki mua, ki muri means moving forward while looking back; this book honours those who have come before, weaving whakapapa and mātauranga into contemporary materials and ideas. 


Reviewer: Rebekah Lyell

Massey University Press


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