Iconic New Zealand artist Robin White has collaborated with Tongan artist Ruha Fifita over a number of years to create a monumental installation of ngatu (painted tapa) to be exhibited at Pataka Art + Museum this Summer.
The hybrid mix of historical and contemporary iconography, patterns and references, that range from the Pacific to Western Europe and the Middle East make Ko e Hala Hangatonu: The Straight Path Robin White’s most ambitious project to date.
There is a traditional Tongan pattern called the HALA PAINI – the pathway of pines. It represents the straight road fringed with Norfolk Pines that leads to the King’s palace in Tongatapu. While having a literal meaning as a straight path the Hala Hangatonu can also be interpreted as a metaphorical path (or course of action) that takes you directly to where you need to be.