Ko Murihiku Tōku Whaea,Southern Mother

Kyla Cresswell, Emma Kitson, Kim Lowe

29 October - 5 December 2021

A group exhibition exploring the artists’ connections to Southland and celebrating Murihiku, the great Southern Mother, who nurtured their artistic talents and values.

In the Murihiku region, there is a feeling of being lightly tethered to the wild land beneath. At the coast, there are vast skies, far reaching horizon lines, and expansive sea. Inland, landforms loom high, and mountain caps feed the bitterly cold awa. The rich resources of the area have attracted generations of people, however, the harsh climate has put off just as many. Among Southlanders exists a strong social fabric, and your whakapapa — along with the weather — is often the first topic of introduction.

Emma Riha Kitson is a descendant of Kai Tahu ki Murihiku. Kyla Cresswell and Kim Lowe both grew up in Murihiku and are descendants of Southland settlers. Emma, Kyla, and Kim met at the Dunedin School of Art in 1993. Over the following decades, they followed different paths, yet all three have gravitated towards the process-heavy technique of printmaking.

Emma loves the egalitarian nature of printmaking and its connections to historical revolutionary movements; she also enjoys just getting to play with knives. Kyla enjoys the progression from mark-making to printed image, and the distinctive elements each printmaking process gives to the image. For Kim, it is all about working in reverse and taking tiny steps following a traditional and time-laden process.

Kyla has returned to Murihiku recently, while Kim resides in Ōtautahi and Emma is based in Te-Whanganui-a-Tara.

The artists acknowledge their teacher Marilyn Webb, who encouraged them to explore the depths of their rich ancestry and identities, to value a connection to place, and to believe in their strengths and voice.

E te manawa tītī, e te māreikura. Moe mai rā e tō mātou kaiako ātaahua, Marilyn Webb (1937-2021).

View more of the artists’ work:

Emma Kitson’s Instagram @lesserknownnative

Kyla Cresswell’s Instagram @kylacresswellartist

Kim Lowe’s Instagram @kim.lowe88