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Source: Auckland Council

Franklin Art Centre is set to host Whatu Manawa from 9 November, an exhibition that celebrates the weaving of New Zealand treasure Matekino Lawless QSM (Tainui).

Whatu Manawa will be the Rotoiti-based weavers’ first solo exhibition, originally shown at the Tauranga Art Gallery and now at Auckland Council’s Franklin Art Centre. It honours her dedication to the art and tradition or raranga (weaving), with its many decorative and utilitarian uses.

The exhibition features an exquisite selection of Lawless’ signature works, chosen from an impressive collection of kākahu (cloaks), whāriki (mats), and kete (baskets) created between the 1980s and today. The detailed pieces are made from native New Zealand plants and treated with natural dyes such as paru, demonstrating her loyalty to the traditions of her craft.

“I attribute my knowledge of weaving to my kuia (female elders) who nurtured me during my childhood. They were a major contributing factor to the skills I have acquired, and I owe my approach to the art of weaving to their teachings,” she says.

Lawless started weaving in her late thirties. Now, having celebrated her 91st birthday this year, she is a mentor and one of the biggest advocates for the legacy of raranga (weaving) traditions.

Lawless has received international acknowledgement and national recognition through being awarded the Auckland Art Museum Fellowship, the Queens Service Medal (QSM) and Creative NZ: Te Waka Toi’s Kingi Ihaka Art Award and Atairangikaahu. Her work is held in personal collections in Aotearoa, Europe, United Kingdom and the United States.

Whatu Manawa: Celebrating the Weaving of Matekino Lawless opens at Franklin Art Centre on 9 November 2019 and runs until 25 January 2020.

The exhibition has been made possible thanks to the support of Holland Beckett and is supported by Auckland Council.