Mataaho Collective Honoured with Prestigious Award at Venice Biennale

The Mataaho Collective has been recognised with a prestigious award at the Venice Biennale for their remarkable installation, which combines traditional Māori weaving techniques with contemporary artistry. President of the Jury, Julia Bray-Wilson, commended the collective for their luminous woven structure, which gracefully spans the gallery space, evoking matrilinear traditions and serving as both a cosmological symbol and a shelter.

The installation, characterised by its intricate weaving and impressive scale, pays homage to ancestral techniques while hinting at future applications. The Mataaho Collective’s innovative approach has captivated audiences and earned them widespread acclaim.

Accepting the award on behalf of the collective, a member expressed gratitude for the opportunity to showcase their work on the international stage. They credited their research into customary Māori birthing mats as the inspiration behind their creation, highlighting the importance of preserving and celebrating indigenous cultural practices.

The collective also expressed appreciation for the support of their friends, colleagues, and family back home, acknowledging the sacrifices made by their loved ones to enable their artistic endeavours. They emphasized the significance of the award in recognizing the often unseen labour involved in creating such intricate pieces of art.

In closing, the Mataaho Collective expressed hope that their work would inspire future generations of queer and indigenous artists, underscoring the transformative power of art in fostering cultural understanding and empowerment.

By Te Ataakura Tanirau-Wickliffe