Mānawatia Takatāpui / Defending Plurality is a new exhibition developed by artist and activist Shannon Novak. It makes space for the LGBTQI+ community and centre BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) marginalised by sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and/or sex characteristics such as Takatāpui, Mahu, and Fakaleiti. The show explores past, present, and future challenges and triumphs of the local (Bay of Plenty) and wider New Zealand LGBTQI+ community with a view to encouraging individuals, businesses, and organisations to connect with, celebrate with and support this community.
Novak takes an artist/curator role presenting a large-scale installation spanning interior and exterior spaces of the gallery with work from the LGBTQI+ community woven in. Formed from his bold and colourful abstractions the installation takes cues from the ever-evolving vocabulary of the LGBTQI+ community. The exhibition spills into other public spaces around Tauranga and beyond through artist interventions, collaborations, and Novak’s "Safe Space" project that seeks to help people identify, navigate, and create safe spaces for the LGBTQI+ community worldwide. Contributing artists and activists include Cao Xun, Russ Flatt, Phylesha Brown-Acton, Eliana Rubashkyn, Colleen White, Telly Tuita, Areez Katki, Paul Darragh, Brent Harris, Alicia Frankovich, Shigiyuki Kihara and Grant Lingard.
The exhibition is Tauranga Art Gallery’s Signature Show for 2021 through its ambitious scale and active engagement with both artists and the wider community.
Annual Strategic Partner: Cooney Lees Morgan
Exhibition partner: The Incubator Creative Hub