Toro Whakaara: Responses to our built environment

At CoCA: ĀKAU, Edith Amituanai, Kirsty Lillico, Sione Faletau and Wayne Youle. At Objectspace: HOOPLA, Isobel Thom, Lindsay Yee, Ngahuia Harrison and Raphaela Rose

New work by ten practitioners spanning the fields of architecture, design, craft and art explores our experiences of the built environment. Toro Whakaara considers the power and politics of place through the social interaction, occupation and movement it allows. 

Principal Exhibition Partner
Exhibition Sponsors
Exhibition Funders

In developing work for the exhibition, participants were invited to consider the term ‘hostile architecture’ as a catalyst. Also known as defensive architecture or unpleasant design, hostile architecture uses the design of the built environment as a strategy to maintain order or control behaviour. Its deployment in public spaces is a useful lens for considering how our cities and spaces are shaped, and whose access and use are prioritised through its design.

Practitioners took a geographical location from anywhere in Aotearoa as a starting point – from a basketball court in Kaikohe to the rebuilding of Kaikoura’s coastal highway. At once critical and celebratory, works in the exhibition examine the effects of urban development on the land and its peoples.

A proposition emerges within the exhibition: that affirming the success of a building, street or suburb is both tumultuous and unstable. The planning and design of the built environment cannot adequately be measured by its perceived beautification or the consumption it produces. Instead its greatest potency is where it offers a breadth of possibilities to its participants that brings joy and opportunity to daily life. When it cares for and upholds the mana of the citizens it exists to serve. 

The title Toro Whakaara references tensions that exist between human experience and the built environment. The kupu "toro" means to explore and also to "reach", while "whakaara" can mean “hostile” or "awaken". The title was gifted to the exhibition by collaborators ĀKAU, a design and architecture studio based in Kaikohe. It is an expression of the process of wānanga and exchange that has guided the exhibition. 

The exhibition runs concurrently at CoCA Toi Moroki, Ōtautahi, and Objectspace, Tāmaki Makaurau as part of the ongoing programme partnership. Ten projects span both galleries simultaneously, with exhibition design by Micheal McCabe.

This exhibition is presented by Architectus and made possible with support from The Rae Family Trust, The Warren Trust, Christchurch City Council, and Creative New Zealand. 

The Artists

  • Edith Amituanai
    Edith Amituanai
    Tāmaki Makaurau

    Edith Amituanai is an Aotearoa New Zealand-born Sāmoan photographer working from the suburb of Rānui in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. She has exhibited extensively in galleries and museums across Aotearoa and internationally in Australia, Austria, Taiwan, Germany and Canada. In 2008 she was nominated for the Walters Prize for her series Dejeuner that examined a new Pacific diaspora – expatriate Aotearoa New Zealand Sāmoan rugby players living and working in Europe. Her artwork is held in national collections including Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery.

    Web site
  • Kirsty Lillico
    Kirsty Lillico
    Te Whanganui-a-Tara

    Kirsty Lillico is a Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington-based artist working primarily with textiles. She received a Master of Fine Art from RMIT University in Melbourne in 2008 and has a Bachelor of Design from Victoria University and a Diploma of Fine Art from Otago Polytechnic. Lillico has exhibited widely throughout Aotearoa New Zealand and in Australia. Solo and group exhibitions include Unravelled, City Gallery Wellington, 2019–20; Building Paper, Cobblestone Lightboxes, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, 2021; Happy Together, Objectspace, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland 2018; This used to be the future, Blindside, Melbourne, 2015; and Demented Architecture, City Gallery Wellington, 2015. In 2017 she was awarded the Parkin Drawing Prize for her work State Block.

    Web site Instagram
  • Sione Faletau
    Sione Faletau
    Tāmaki Makaurau

    Sione Faletau is a multidisciplinary artist of Tongan heritage based in Ōtara, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. He is a Masters graduate of the University of Auckland Elam School of Fine Arts and a current doctoral candidate completing his Doctor of Fine Arts degree. Faletau’s current research and art practice centres around Tongan masculinity from an Indigenous perspective.

    Web site Instagram
  • Wayne Youle
    Wayne Youle
    North Canterbury

    Wayne Youle (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whakaeke, Pākehā) lives and works in Rakahuri Amberley, North Canterbury. A graduate of the Wellington Polytechnic School of Design, his work is often humorous and addresses issues of identity, race and the commodification of cultural symbols. Youle’s work has been shown in national museums and public galleries throughout Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas, and is held in numerous collections. Recent solo exhibitions include 20/20: words of wisdom at Pātaka, Porirua (2019) and Look mum no hands at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū (2017).

    Web site Instagram
  • ĀKAU
    ĀKAU
    Kaikohe

    ĀKAU is a design and architecture practice based in Te Taitokerau, Northland. Working within a collaborative design approach, they develop projects that speak of the people and place in which they are built. Their projects create opportunities for taitamariki to be involved in the design of public spaces, community facilities and events through a process of wānanga and mutual exchange.

    The ĀKAU whānau includes Ana Heremaia, Felicity Brenchley, Ruby Watson, Mere Taylor-Tuiloma, Tukaha Milne, Makareta Jahnke, Ruth Woodbury, Marita Hunt, Symphony Morunga, Gwena Gilbert & Dina McLeod.

    Web site Instagram Facebook
Edith Amituanai
Tāmaki Makaurau

Edith Amituanai is an Aotearoa New Zealand-born Sāmoan photographer working from the suburb of Rānui in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. She has exhibited extensively in galleries and museums across Aotearoa and internationally in Australia, Austria, Taiwan, Germany and Canada. In 2008 she was nominated for the Walters Prize for her series Dejeuner that examined a new Pacific diaspora – expatriate Aotearoa New Zealand Sāmoan rugby players living and working in Europe. Her artwork is held in national collections including Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery.

View artwork
Kirsty Lillico
Te Whanganui-a-Tara

Kirsty Lillico is a Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington-based artist working primarily with textiles. She received a Master of Fine Art from RMIT University in Melbourne in 2008 and has a Bachelor of Design from Victoria University and a Diploma of Fine Art from Otago Polytechnic. Lillico has exhibited widely throughout Aotearoa New Zealand and in Australia. Solo and group exhibitions include Unravelled, City Gallery Wellington, 2019–20; Building Paper, Cobblestone Lightboxes, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, 2021; Happy Together, Objectspace, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland 2018; This used to be the future, Blindside, Melbourne, 2015; and Demented Architecture, City Gallery Wellington, 2015. In 2017 she was awarded the Parkin Drawing Prize for her work State Block.

View artwork
Sione Faletau
Tāmaki Makaurau

Sione Faletau is a multidisciplinary artist of Tongan heritage based in Ōtara, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. He is a Masters graduate of the University of Auckland Elam School of Fine Arts and a current doctoral candidate completing his Doctor of Fine Arts degree. Faletau’s current research and art practice centres around Tongan masculinity from an Indigenous perspective.

View artwork
Wayne Youle
North Canterbury

Wayne Youle (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whakaeke, Pākehā) lives and works in Rakahuri Amberley, North Canterbury. A graduate of the Wellington Polytechnic School of Design, his work is often humorous and addresses issues of identity, race and the commodification of cultural symbols. Youle’s work has been shown in national museums and public galleries throughout Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas, and is held in numerous collections. Recent solo exhibitions include 20/20: words of wisdom at Pātaka, Porirua (2019) and Look mum no hands at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū (2017).

View artwork
ĀKAU
Kaikohe

ĀKAU is a design and architecture practice based in Te Taitokerau, Northland. Working within a collaborative design approach, they develop projects that speak of the people and place in which they are built. Their projects create opportunities for taitamariki to be involved in the design of public spaces, community facilities and events through a process of wānanga and mutual exchange.

The ĀKAU whānau includes Ana Heremaia, Felicity Brenchley, Ruby Watson, Mere Taylor-Tuiloma, Tukaha Milne, Makareta Jahnke, Ruth Woodbury, Marita Hunt, Symphony Morunga, Gwena Gilbert & Dina McLeod.

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Installation View of ‘Toro Whakaara’ at CoCA 2021, Wayne Youle, Edith Amituanai, ĀKAU
More about this artwork

Image credit: John Collie

'GLOW', 2021, Wayne Youle
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Concrete “waste block”, LED strip lights, 2021


Image credit: John Collie


 

'Flats', 2021 - detail, Kirsty Lillico
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Felt


Image Credit: John Collie

Installation View of ‘Toro Whakaara’ at CoCA 2021, Kirsty Lillico, Sione Faletau
More about this artwork

Sione Faletau
Kupesi Peau Ongo, 2021 
Four-channel moving image installation


Kirsty Lillico
Flats, 2021
Felt


Image credit: John Collie

'Big Love', 2021, Kirsty Lillico
More about this artwork

Carpet


Image Credit: John Collie

'Poipoi Whakaaro', 2021 - Hoop detail, ĀKAU
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Kaikohe Intermediate School, ĀKAU, Catherine Griffiths & Ruth Woodbury
Custom floor vinyl graphic
Custom powder-coated steel hoop
Natural cotton hand-dyed woven net


Image Credit: John Collie

Installation View of ‘Toro Whakaara’ at CoCA 2021, Edith Amituanai, ĀKAU
More about this artwork

Edith Amituanai
  
Car on stilts, 2021
LED print


WPV Pātaka, 2021
LED print


Marinich Drive short cut, 2018
LED print


ĀKAU
Poipoi Whakaaro, 2021 - detail
Custom floor vinyl graphic


Image Credit: John Collie

'Kupesi Peau Ongo', 2021, Sione Faletau
More about this artwork

Four-channel moving image installation


Image Credit: John Collie