This time last year visitors to MTG Hawke’s Bay were being wowed by a unique artistic approach to plastic pollution and our future, in the collaborative exhibition George Nuku: Bottled Ocean 2118.
The exhibition was created in three weeks by the Hastings-raised, Paris-based artist George Nuku, school groups, members of the public, museum staff and George’s friends and whānau.
It wasn’t just visitors to MTG that were impressed by the exhibition, however.
It is a finalist for spatial design in the exhibitions and temporary structures category in the 2019 Designers Institute of New Zealand Best Awards, the winners of which will be announced on 4 October.
“Many hands went into creating this exhibition, it was a real team effort and has been one of our most popular exhibitions so far,” says Laura Vodanovich, MTG Director.
The exhibition’s success is also acknowledgement of the talents of museum staff, who are constantly developing engaging exhibitions that gain national recognition.
This is the fourth time MTG has been a finalist in these particular awards, having won gold twice. Other MTG exhibitions have been either finalists or winners across a range of national awards in recent years.
While the Bottled Ocean exhibition is now closed, a George Nuku installation in the front foyer of MTG will remain in place until October. A video of the artist himself, speaking about the exhibition and his vision of a future where plastic and the oceans converge, can also be viewed at MTG.
Plastic is commonly regarded as a useful, perhaps necessary evil that is endlessly versatile yet also undesirable and almost worthless. In contrast, George sees plastic as a taonga, a beautiful and precious substance just like pounamu or diamond, with unique properties and an incredible genealogy.
Millions of years of intense heat and pressure transformed the remains of ancient marine life into crude oil, which is extracted from the body of Papatūānuku, Mother Earth, and used in chemical processes to form the vast array of plastic forms in existence today. They are therefore simultaneously the oldest and the newest objects in our lives.
“I say that I now speak fluently the language of both plexiglass and the plastic bottle: I make them sing and dance.”
George Tamihana Nuku
5 September 2019
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