Polynesian Artwork Exhibit coming to LeFevre Art Gallery

NEWARK, Ohio, Nov. 1, 2017 — The LeFevre Art Gallery on the shared campus of The Ohio State University at Newark and Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) will host a free public reception for its new exhibit, "The Art of Ngatu: Tradition, Innovation and Community in Polynesia" on Monday, Nov. 20, 5:30 to 7 p.m. The multimedia exhibit features the work of artists Dame Robin White (New Zealand) and Ruha Fifita (Tonga) and includes original artwork, traditional tapa (beaten bark cloth), photography, film and ephemera. Collaborating with communities of indigenous Polynesian women, the artists use traditional methods while also incorporating innovation and contemporary narratives related to the history of Polynesian communities. Reception attendees are invited to meet exhibit co-curators Marcus Boroughs, former director of the Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History in New Zealand and Associate Professor John N. Low, J.D., Ph.D., Department of Comparative Studies, Ohio State Newark.


The LeFevre Gallery is located in the campus's LeFevre Hall, 1199 University Drive, Newark. The exhibit will be on display through Tuesday, May, 1, 2018. Admission to the LeFevre Gallery is free and open to the public. Visit newark.osu.edu for more information.

About the artists:

Dame Robin White (born Te Puke, New Zealand, 1946) is one of New Zealand's greatest visual artists. Of Pakeha and Maori descent, White was one of the most prominent painters of the 1970s, producing numerous iconic New Zealand images. She subsequently lived on the island of Tarawa in the Republic of Kiribati for 17 years before returning to New Zealand in 1999. She has continued working since then with groups of indigenous women, weavers and artists from around the Pacific.

In 2003, White was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. White says her tapa-based works are about "those things that connect different peoples." Collaborating with indigenous people, using traditional processes, materials and techniques, her tapa work infuses ordinary subjects with values that are timeless and like an ocean, borderless.

Ruha Fifita is an internationally respected artist from Tonga. Her ngatu work was recently exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. Fifita advocates for increasing youth voices and a continued link to indigenous culture, which she believes is one of the region's greatest strengths. She is currently curator of Polynesian art at Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia.

Financial support for the exhibit is provided by the Milliken Fund. The exhibit is sponsored by The Ohio State University's Newark Earthworks Center and American Indian Studies Program as well as Ohio State Newark/COTC's Office of Student Life, Black Box Theater and Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council.

For more information, contact John N. Low at low.89@osu.edu.

Central Ohio Technical College and The Ohio State University at Newark have forged an outstanding array of educational opportunities for the central Ohio region and beyond. This partnership is viewed as a model for higher education in the state of Ohio.  At Central Ohio Technical College, students gain hands-on, applicable experience to begin working in the field, or to transfer those credits toward a bachelor's degree program. The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that's challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State's more than 200 majors.