He Waka Tuia , Invercargill’s combined art and museum exhibition space is celebrating women this month with three different exhibitions opening at Kelvin St.
100 women, 100 words … infinite possibilities is a touring show from Otago Museum, part of a larger Full STE(a)M Ahead project designed to highlight the gender gap that persists in many areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) study and careers.
He Waka Tuia co-manager Sarah Brown says hosting the show, which opened to the public on Saturday, presented an opportunity to complement the exhibition with two of their own. Women from our Collections, a separate show, is a collection of paintings and portraits either by, or of, women, harvested from the collections of Southland Museum and Art Gallery Niho o te Taniwha, Southland Art Foundation and Invercargill Public Art Gallery. It also opens this weekend.
The third exhibition, Women during the War, highlights Southland women during WWI.
Team leader curators David Dudfield says this exhibition flips the script on traditional ANZAC offerings, and opens on April 17.
“It’s focusing on what wives, mothers, sisters and daughters of soldiers were doing while their boys were at the front,” he says.
The latest exhibitions are the third to be held at He Waka Tuia in 2021, in line with a commitment to keep the space fresh and ever-changing.
He Waka Tuia is a flexible space which can be broken up into small shows, allowing staggered openings, Sarah says.
“There will be times when people come in and a small part of the gallery will be closed while we are hanging a show. Some people have loved watching what we are doing, which is great. It’s also important to show the public that we can host touring exhibitions while still reconnecting the community with our collection.”
As well as more exhibitions, He Waka Tuia is also hosting more events. A panel discussion of five women with strong connections to Southland, facilitated by Otago Museum, is set for the first weekend in May, while Southland musicians and poets are performing the following weekend to dovetail with NZ Music Month.
“We’re ticking all the boxes,” David says.