Artist Talk with Derek Lardelli


Location: Snite Museum of Art

Whatu: An Insight into the Maori World promotional image Exhibition by artist Derek Lardelli runs from April 16 to June 9 with an opening reception on April 16 from 5 to 7 PM

The Notre Dame Center for Arts & Culture presents Whatu: An Insight into the Māori World, an exhibit by Māori artist Derek Lardelli of New Zealand, with the University of Notre Dame Office of Community Relations, the Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame College of Arts & Letters, Southwest Airlines, and Cardinal Buses.

Whatu: An Insight into the Māori World features artworks by Derek Lardelli in various media. Lardelli aims to bring Māori culture to South Bend through the visual arts. Lardelli is an internationally renowned artist whose works include the graphics used for Air New Zealand's corporate rebranding, the composition of the All Blacks rugby team haka, tā moko (traditional Māori tattooing which reflects each individual Māori’s identity including their genealogy, tribal affiliation, etc.), sculpture, and more.

The Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand, an island nation in the Pacific Ocean. New Zealand became a British colony in the mid-

Derek Lardelli portrait

nineteenth century. Along with this colonization came the attempted quashing of the Māori culture. Laws preventing Māori peoples from producing artwork and speaking their language pervaded well into the 20th century.  In the 1960s a cultural revival began which lead to te reo Māori becoming a national language in New Zealand and a resurgence in many art forms including tā moko.

The exhibition provides glimpse of traditional Māori art forms through photographs of tā moko done by Lardelli, video of kapa haka, carved ceremonial adzes, and digital drawings which demonstrate the interconnectedness of many cultures. The best word to describe this exhibition is whatu. The word “whatu” has many meanings when translated from te reo to English. Literally, whatu is translated from Māori to English as "eye." More fully, whatu can be defined as an insightful “all-seeing eye,” but it can also mean “to weave or to bring together,” and, in ancient schools of learning, the “whatu” was an initiation stone fed to scholars.

The title Whatu: An Insight into the Māori World was chosen with all of these meanings in mind. Also with the aim of promoting knowledge and introductory experiences of Māori culture in the South Bend area. These events fall under the NDCAC Global Experience series, “The Indigenous World,” which promotes, through various community and campus entities, the sharing of knowledge and generation of events surrounding indigenous cultures.   

Please join us for Lardelli’s lecture on April 15 at 5:30 PM at the Snite Museum of Art and for the opening reception of Whatu: An Insight into the Māori World on April 16 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the Crossroads Gallery. For the opening reception there will be a free round trip shuttle from Notre Dame’s McKenna Hall  beginning at 4:50 PM and Lardelli will perform a blessing at 5:15. All events are free and open to the public.

The Snite Museum of Art is located at 100 Moose Krause Circle at the University of Notre Dame.

Crossroads Gallery is located on the main floor of the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture at 1045 West Washington Street in South Bend.

Whatu: An Insight into the Māori World runs from April 16 - June 9, 2015.