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Tame Iti explores Covid-19's impact on Tūhoe in pop-up art exhibition

Art fans will get a chance to see activist Tame Iti's latest work this weekend at a two day pop-up exhibition in Auckland.

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The Tuhoe activist’s work is on display in a pop-up exhibition in Ponsonby, Auckland. Source: 1 NEWS

The activist and artist has created a series of paintings exploring Covid-19's impact on Tūhoe as well as environmental issues for the pop-up exhibition.

The exhibition is being held at Tame Iti's old neighbourhood of Ponsonby, once a centre of social activism.

His work explored iwi roadblocks during lockdown and what that meant for hapū rangatiratanga.

“First we had the checkpoints in Rūātoki on the confiscation line...we're actually monitoring our own, not roaming around just for the sake of it.” Iti says.

During lockdown his painting work helped him find an international audience on social media - a fellow artist says his friend has become a pop culture icon himself.

“The thing with Tame is he's played in so many arenas and been a part of our culture for so long and he's not afraid to take on new avenues and ways of expressing his ideas,” says artist Daniel Tippert.


Iti says he doesn’t think people are not looking at him “sideways” these days.

“I've been standing here [in the gallery] in the first ten minutes, people knocking on the door, wanting to have a chat – I have no idea who they are,” he says.

He’s hoping to make a bit of cash too.

“You see a little rock you hustle your way around in the space and that's asserting your mana, your art, your conversation, so here I am in Ponsonby Road,” Iti says.