Welcome to Mānawatia Takatāpui—Defending Plurality, an expansive exhibition developed by Tāmaki Makaurau-based artist and activist Shannon Novak. Taking a variety of forms across several spaces at Tauranga Art Gallery and offsite venues, the citywide exhibition foregrounds Novak’s unique dual role as both an acclaimed multi-disciplinary artist and a full-time advocate in the LGBTQI+ community.
Tauranga Art Gallery is pleased to partner with City Art Walk to produce this bespoke digital guide for the show. With it you can navigate the Gallery and participating venues across Tauranga Te Moana, guided with further information about the artists involved and their submitted artworks.
We recommend beginning at Tauranga Art Gallery—the hub of the exhibition—located at the corner of Wharf Street and Willow Street in Tauranga City. Novak’s expansive floor-based artwork has been designed to lead you into the building and through two levels of gallery spaces devoted to the exhibition. Here, alongside Novak’s strong presence in the show, you will experiencing a range of additional artworks and written contributions by many leading figures in the LGBTQI+ community.
Nearby on the Gallery’s Wharf Street façade, Kaan Hiini has produced a visually dazzling op-art-inspired mural He Takatāpui Ahau. From here we recommend that you proceed to the third venue, Baycourt, which is just a short two-minute walk from the Gallery. Situated near the entrance on the exterior grounds are two specially designed flags which have been raised in support of the exhibition.
The two remaining sites for the exhibition are the Historic Village and Bayfair shopping mall. In association with The Incubator Creative Hub in the Historic Village on 17th Ave, Novak partners with Tauranga artist Paul Darragh to produce a colourful large-scale painting directly on the road (you can’t miss it!). Nearby at the Kollective, pop in to view a standalone Shannon Novak artwork in their shared foyer space.
Then at Bayfair shopping mall, venture to the east wing of the Mall (en route to Farmers) and look up to view a colourful 12-metre-long artwork by Novak produced in situ on the ceiling skylight. From there we encourage you to explore the mall further and seek out another fashion display orchestrated by Novak and participating retailers, which has been not-so-subtly ‘tweaked’ in support of the rainbow community.
Finally, thanks to the support of Our Place magazine, the exhibition traverses into print. Keep an eye out for Novak’s Fluid Flag which sports the cover of the August-September issue and a full page insert, and read on to enjoy an extended interview with Novak as he discusses his aspirations for the exhibition.
We trust that you will enjoy this wide-ranging exhibition which celebrates diversity and advocates for inclusivity for the rainbow community.
[Credit: Installation view | Mānawatia Takatāpui—Defending Plurality, Tauranga Art Gallery, 23 July – 10 October 2021]