Last Chance to View Unusual Exhibition

"Toi Maori: The Eternal Thread," a stunning exhibition of traditional and contemporary Maori weaving on loan from New Zealand collections, is scheduled to close on Dec. 22. The exhibition at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University features more than 100 woven items and is the first time a major exhibition of Maori weaving has been presented in the United States. Willamette University is one of only three venues in the world chosen for this exhibition tour.

"For those who want to see a really fine exhibition of Maori weaving, 'Toi Maori: The Eternal Thread' should not be missed," said John Olbrantz, director of the museum.

In the 1950s, New Zealand witnessed a major revival of traditional Maori weaving initiated by a new generation of Maori weavers. In addition to several traditional cloaks created over the past 20 years, the exhibition honors a new generation of artists who have created innovative works of art anchored in the concepts, materials and techniques of the past.

Some of the artists in the exhibition explore non-traditional materials. Lonnie Hutchinson uses paper to create "cut-out" cloaks, while Kataraina Hetet weaves with film leader. Diane Prince has created an ethereal semi-transparent cloak of copper wire, while Erenora Puketapu-Hetet has woven two cloaks, one a traditional cloak, the other from wire, feathers and paua. Multi-media artist Lisa Reihana created digital interpretations of weaving in her evocative video "Tauira," while Moana Nepia's "paintings with feathers" challenge tradition notions of Maori weaving.

In addition to the exquisite kakahu (high quality woven cloaks) on display, the exhibition features different types of woven items, including whariki (woven floor mats) and kete (finely woven baskets). Text panels introduce visitors to the history, materials and techniques of contemporary Maori weaving, while large photomurals of ancestors wearing cloaks provide compelling evidence of the significance and continuity of the cloak within traditional Maori culture.

After the exhibition closes in Salem, it will travel to the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture on the campus of the University of Washington in Seattle, where it will be shown during the winter of 2006.

Organized by the Pataka Museum of Arts and Culture in Porirua City, New Zealand, in partnership with Toi Maori Aotearea-Maori Arts New Zealand, the exhibition is supported by a major grant from Te Waka Toi/Creative New Zealand. Local sponsorship has been provided by grants from The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde through their Spirit Mountain Community Fund, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Oregon Arts Commission and the City of Salem's Transient Occupancy Tax funds.

The Hallie Ford Museum of Art is located at 700 State Street (corner of State and Cottage Streets) in downtown Salem near the Willamette University campus. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for seniors and students. Children under 12 are admitted free, and Tuesday is an admission-free day. For more information call 503-370-6855.