TECT presents Tauranga-based, contemporary Māori artist Todd Couper’s first survey exhibition.
It charts his impressive career over the past 15 years and includes works, not often viewed in public, sourced from private collections in New Zealand and overseas.
Called Toi Mauri, which references the essence or spirit held within each individual artwork, this exhibition features a large selection of beautifully intricate whakairo rākau (wood carving), alongside cast bronze and drawing.
Couper’s subjects include kaitiaki (guardian spirits) from the natural world such as the hokioi (eagle), ruru (morepork) and whai (stingray) as well as other traditional forms.
For Tauranga Art Gallery, Couper has also created a series of new works based on the pūrerehua form - a traditional Māori instrument.
This body of works articulates the artist’s ability to blend traditional techniques and themes with contemporary practice rendered in fluid lines and graphic precision.
Of Rongomaiwahine and Ngāti Kahungunu descent, Couper has a Diploma of Art, Craft and Māori Design from Waiariki Institute of Technology in Rotorua where he majored in woodcarving.
He has since forged a significant career, with commissioned pieces residing in collections throughout the world.
He has a long-term relationship with Spirit Wrestler Gallery in Vancouver, who have been instrumental in making this exhibition possible.
Photo top: Spirit of the Boar, Todd Couper, Courtesy of Spirit Wrestler Gallery.
This exhibition has been generously supported by Creative New Zealand and TECT.