• Artist: Johnson Witehira
  • Medium: Digital Media
  • Project Type: Commissioned Project
  • Neighbourhood: Downtown

Digital renderings explore the artist’s relationship to his awa tupuna (ancestral river), Te Wainui-a-Rua.


1 Dundas St E

  • Address: 1 Dundas
  • Intersection: Yonge & Dundas St E
  • Physical Access: Wheelchair accessible
  • Schedule: Available for viewing October 2 - 8. All day on rotation on Yonge-Dundas Screens.

The Project

The river is a supernatural living being for Witehira's tribes (Tamahaki, Ngati Hinekura). It has its mauri (life-force), and its well-being is linked directly to the well-being of the people. These digital works explore Witehira's relationship to his awa tupuna (ancestral river), Te Wainui-ā-Rua. The dream-like landscape, filled with abstracted Tiki figures and objects with connections to the river, is a window into the artist's consciousness. Pieces of memories, both real and imagined, drift past the viewer. Using animation, the artist stretches time, using the digital medium to show connections between the past, present and future. Playing with time, the visual narrative explores Māori perceptions of the world, in which the past is in front of us not behind.

The Artist

Johnson Witehira is a leading Maori digital artist. Using sound and animation, he brings surreal landscapes filled with indigenous stories, patterns, and ancestors to life. Witehira’s artworks have featured in significant galleries throughout Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally. In 2015, his Land of Tara series was displayed at the prestigious Talente Munich art and design fair. Works from his Ko Aotearoa Tenei series (2012) filled 34 large digital billboards in Times Square, New York in their first ever synchronized display of digital content.


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