This major art commission by Lisa Reihana opened as part of Te Papa’s 2008 celebration of Matariki (the Māori New Year). Mai i te aroha, ko te aroha comprised seven components, including moving images, digital photography, and textile design.
As well as articulating the established ideas and definitions of the space, Mai i te aroha, ko te aroha made visible a core function of Te Papa as a ‘treasure house of collections’. Reihana’s installation pays homage to Jacqueline Fraser’s work – the first commission to adorn Te Ara a Hine (the internal pathway to Te Marae). It referenced art and taonga (treasures) held in Te Papa’s art, Māori, and photography collections, including her own works.
In the video component of the installation, Silent Karanga, the Māori chanteuse Whirimako Black lip syncs He Taonga written to honour the Māori Battalion. The work is presented without sound, but elicits her voice for those that know it. Black calls forth a songbird from another world creating a realm between the living and the deceased.