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Exhibited as part of Toi Tū, Toi Ora, North Terrace, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, North Terrace project curated by Natasha Conland

Ana Iti is interested in the remnants of history – what is visible, tangible and readable. Her sculpture project responds to the Gallery’s adjacency to Albert Park, with its monuments and treescape, and what is now lost from view.

Albert Park has a layered and complex history in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland, once known as the Albert Barracks and formerly the site of Te Horotiu Pā. Iti draws on a remaining fragment of this history – a segment of wall located about 300 metres east of the Gallery on the university grounds. The wall, which once surrounded the barracks, was commissioned by Governor Grey in 1846 to protect the then capital city from invasion during the Northern War (1845–46). Iti notes that the wall was built primarily by Māori labourers, and a New Zealand Herald article from 1873, just prior the demolition of the bulk of the wall, reported that ‘over the front gate there is an inscription in the Maori language’.

Since antiquity, plaster has been used to replicate artworks, in particular sculpture in the round and reliefs. A mould (negative) is taken from the object (positive). Here Iti, utilises this process, making casts or ‘skins’ of the wall and represents the last of this historic structure in dismembered parts. In contrast to the monuments in the neighbouring park she creates a light, floating set of impressions of the wall’s exterior.

The word takoto in the title, meaning ‘to lay down’, has two possible interpretations in this work – the last breath of the wall or laying forth an agenda to approach this conversation about history. In the adjacent text work Iti reimagines this forgotten phrase as a message from the past to the future.

- Natasha Conland, Curator, Contemporary Art, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Takoto, powder coated steel, CNC routed MDF and resin, vinyl cut lettering, 2020.
Photography by Paul Chapman.