Toi Koru – Sandy Adsett retrospective


Dates: 11/05/24 - 04/08/24
Opening: 10/05/24 5:30 pm

Developed and toured by Pātaka Art + Museum

The Māori master of colour and kōwhaiwhai, Toi Koru is the first major survey exhibition of paintings by Dr Sandy Adsett. Created over six decades, Toi Koru tracks the trajectory of Adsett’s painting practice from the 1960s to present day. Adsett is one of the most significant and respected Māori artists of his generation.

Although his mana precedes him with iwi taketake (indigenous peoples) across the world, he is nevertheless our best kept secret, having never sought the spotlight. His work as a Māori artist and educator has always been concerned with lifting the mana and wellbeing of his community.

Born in 1939 on the family farm in Raupunga, a small Kahungunu (Ngāti Pāhauwera) Māori community just north of Wairoa on the East Coast of the North Island. Adsett received his formal art training from the renowned Ngāti Porou master carver Pine Taiapa (1901 – 1972) as part of the Education Department’s Art in Schools itinerant teachers training programme of the 1950s and 1960s. Many of the fantastic insights offered by the old master are shared by Adsett in Toi Koru, such as ‘Pine’s twinkle’, the secret ingredient needed to make the perfect koru.

In the mid-1990s Adsett went on to become one of the cofounders of Toihokura School of Māori Art and Design in Gisborne. He then moved to Hastings and took up the post of principal tutor at Toimarangi School of Māori Art in Hawkes Bay from 2003 to 2021 when he retired from his teaching role.

More recently, Adsett has been involved in the development of Iwi Toi Kahungunu, which has become one of his legacies and a graduate collective destination for many of his students. Sandy and the graduates of this school continue to maintain artistic energy in the Heretaunga community with various events and exhibitions.