Rona Ngāhuia Osborne’s practice is based around two central ideas – Diversity and Trade. She has become well known for the hand stitched blankets that feature in this exhibition. Her work primarily references themes relating to a cultural/historical context in Aotearoa. Her imagery has a strong Maori component and incorporates colonial symbols and iconography, which reflect Osborne’s own family heritage. Working with blankets evolved from the idea of the colonial trade value of European objects for Maori land. The exhibition features twelve of these beautifully hand crafted quilts which are laid out on mattresses on the floor of the gallery space.
Together the work of Alexis and Rona is a rich celebration of their ideas of the whare nui as a whole, exploring cultural identity and representation and society in transition. The essence of the whare nui structure is key to the project and the exhibition pays homage to their cultural heritage and the importance of the whare nui in contemporary society.