Creating the Extraordinary Student Experience

“The Art of Ngatu: Tradition, Innovation and Community in Polynesia” Exhibition Opening Reception


Time: Monday, November 20, 2017 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Location: LeFevre Art Gallery, OSU-Newark Campus

"The Art of Ngatu: Tradition, Innovation and Community in Polynesia” Opening Reception 
Monday, November 20
5:30 - 7:00 p.m.

Refreshments will be served.
Free and open to the public.

About the exhibition:

The exhibition “The Art of Ngatu: Tradition, Innovation and Community in Polynesia” combines original artwork, traditional tapa (beaten bark cloth), photography, film and ephemera. Exhibition content focuses on artists Dame Robin White (New Zealand) and Ruha Fifita (Tonga), their process and practice in Polynesia. Collaborating with communities of indigenous women, the artists use traditional methods to produce tapa while also incorporating innovation and contemporary narratives related to the history of Polynesian communities.

About the artists:

Dame Robin White (born Te Puke, New Zealand, 1946) is one of New Zealand’s greatest visual artists. Of Pakeha and Maori descent, White was one of the most prominent painters of the 1970’s, producing numerous iconic New Zealand images. She subsequently lived on the island of Tarawa in the Republic of Kiribati for 17 years before returning to New Zealand in 1999. She has continued working since then with groups of in-digenous women, weavers and artists, from around the Pacific.

In 2003 White was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Robin White says her tapa-based works are about “those things that connect different peoples.” Collaborating with indigenous people, using traditional processes, materials and techniques, her tapa work infuses ordinary subjects with values that are timeless and like an ocean, borderless.

Ruha Fifita is an internationally-respected artist from Tonga. Her ngatu work was recently exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. Ruha advocates for increasing youth voices and a continued link to indigenous culture, which she believes is one of the region’s greatest strengths. She is currently Curator of Polynesian Art at Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia.

The exhibition is co-curated by Dr. John N. Low and Marcus Boroughs, former director of the Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History in New Zealand.

Financial support provided by the Milliken Fund

This event sponsored by: The Newark Earthworks Center, The American Indian Studies Program at The Ohio State University, The Office of Student Life at The Ohio State University at Newark, The Black Box Theater and the Ohio State Newark/Central Ohio Technical College Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council .

For more information, contact John N. Low, JD, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Department of Comparative Studies at

John Low
Department of Comparative Studies

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